Economic History

Economic History


Bruce Yandle | Dec 09, 2013
With autumn leaves falling and leftover Halloween jack-o-lanterns still grinning, first estimates for 3Q2013 GDP growth and news of October’s employment went bump in the night and rattled the spirits of Washington’s chatterbox. GDP growth came in with a “lofty” 2.8 percent real growth, which was much more than most soothsayers expected. Tapering is on the way! Or so it seemed. The stock marked tanked. Then the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 204,000 jobs had been added to the economy in October; this also exceeded analysts’ expectations. The market recovered; the economy can handle tapering!
Cecil Bohanon | Sep 10, 2012
Both President Obama and Professor Krugman are using very broad historical strokes to make the case that an activist federal government is essential to prosperity. These strokes have an air of plausibility and contain elements of truth. But a closer examination of the actual events of the immediate postwar period provides a picture that is much more nuanced and at odds with the world view that government intervention is the essential ingredient of prosperity. Although the postwar era was indeed inaugurated by a huge contraction in government spending that was made possible by the Allied victory, the end of deficit spending did not send the United States into a deep depression.
Matthew Mitchell | Feb 01, 2012
Matt Mitchell discusses the importance of freedom to society in fostering prosperity,…
Mark Koyama, Noel D. Johnson | Oct 21, 2011
This paper explores the rise of the fiscal state in the early modern period and its impact on legal capacity. To measure legal capacity, we establish that witchcraft trials were more likely to take place where the central state had weak legal institutions. Further historical evidence supports our hypothesis that higher taxes led to better legal institutions.
John Nye | Jun 21, 2011
This essay uses the Philippines as a case study to suggest what is wrong with leading development prescriptions.
Michael J. Clark | Mar 11, 2011
This paper analyzes Adam Smith’s views on strategic politeness.

Speeches & Presentations

Expert Commentary

Aug 15, 2016

One of the less heralded truths of economics is that growth miracles, while they make for good press, are overrated. It’s an insight that could help us better understand the outlook for developing countries such as China.
Jul 25, 2016

Like the country’s ultimate resiliency, China's most serious economic problems may prove to be some of its most longstanding features. “The Economic History of China” may be an academic tome, but it is also an acute lens on the Middle Kingdom that you won't find in your daily news feed.
Aug 22, 2014

India’s economy started to reindustrialize in the late 19th century, but growth remained subpar until the 1990s — a truly long recovery lag. This may sound strange to say, but when it comes to some parts of the Western world, the Great Depression may offer the cheerier analogy.
Aug 30, 2013

In her 2013 biography of America's 30th president, “Coolidge,” Amity Shlaes observes: “Economic heroism is subtler than other forms of heroism and therefore harder to appreciate.” Her point is as profound as it is correct.
By Daniel Klein, Tyler Cowen, John Blundell, David R. Henderson, David Colander, Richard Epstein, James Galbraith, J. Daniel Hammond, Daniel Houser, Steven Medema, Sam Peltzman, Richard Posner, Robert Solow |
May 21, 2013

Imagine that someone with all the endowments of a Milton Friedman were born in the 1960s or 1970s. Is it conceivable that such a person would develop into a ‘Milton Friedman’ like we know the actual Friedman to have been, including his academic eminence and his eloquent and influential advocacy of classical liberalism? Here leading economists address the question: Why is there no Milton Friedman today?
Jan 07, 2013

The new year is a natural time to mimic the Roman god after whom this long, cold month is named. Like Janus, we can look not only forward but also back. While looking back is easier than looking forward — unlike tomorrow, yesterday has already happened — it‘s not as easy as it might seem. The past is clouded with myths that distort our backward glances.


Peter Boettke is the vice president and director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center as well as the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism and a University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University. He specializes in Austrian economics, economic history, institutional analysis, public choice, and social change.
Donald J. Boudreaux is a senior fellow with the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a Mercatus Center Board Member, and a professor of economics and former economics-department chair at George Mason University. He holds the Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center. He specializes in globalization and trade, law and economics, and antitrust economics.
Christopher Coyne is associate director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and F. A. Harper Professor of Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He is also a professor of economics and director of graduate studies in the economics department at George Mason University. He specializes in Austrian economics, economic development, emerging democracies, postwar and disaster reconstruction, political economy, and social change.
Steven Horwitz is a Mercatus Center Senior Affiliated Scholar, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics and department chair at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. He completed his MA and PhD in economics at George Mason University and received his A.B. in economics and philosophy from The University of Michigan.
Noel Johnson is a research fellow at the Mercatus Center and assistant professor of economics at George Mason University. His research focuses on the historical origins of modern economic growth.


Donald J. Boudreaux | October 28, 2013
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University and Cafe Hayek talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the intellectual legacy of Ronald Coase. The conversation centers on Coase's four most important academic articles. Most of the discussion is on two of those articles, "The Nature of the Firm," which continues to influence how economists think of firms and transaction costs, and "The Problem of Social Cost," Coase's pathbreaking work on externalities.

Recent Events

Please join the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics for a panel discussion featuring Russ Roberts and his new book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life.


| Aug 01, 2011
This two-part series shows how economics contributes to understanding the spontaneous development of common law as well as the nature of legal rights.

Media Clippings

Tyler Cowen | Nov 07, 2013
Tyler Cowen's book, "Average is Over" cited at The New Yorker.
Christopher Coyne | May 21, 2013
Book review in The Huffington Post on Chris Coyne's new book, "Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails".
Tyler Cowen | Feb 12, 2013
Tyler Cowen cited at Forbes.
Lawrence H. White | Feb 05, 2013
Lawrence White cited at The Washington Post.
Tyler Cowen | Jan 14, 2013
Tyler Cowen cited at Market Watch.
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