Economics

Economics

Research

Bruce Yandle | Jun 01, 2015
Last quarter’s Economic Situation began with a question. Has the US economic engine lost its steam? This report provides an answer: It surely looks that way, at least for now.
Peter J. Boettke, Alain Marciano | Apr 2015
We present a short history of the Virginia School of Political Economy in its institutional settings of University of Virginia (UVA), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech (VPI), and George Mason University (GMU). We discuss the original research and educational project as envisioned by Buchanan at UVA, its maturity into a normal science at VPI, and its continuation at GMU.
Daniel Klein,, Xiaofei Pan, Daniel Houser, Gonzalo Schwarz | Feb 2015
Emile Durkheim said that when all of the members of a tribe or clan come together, they can sanctify the sacred and experience a spiritual “effervescence.” Friedrich Hayek suggested that certain genes and instincts still dispose us toward the ethos and mentality of the hunter-gatherer band and that modern forms of political collectivism have, in part, been atavistic reassertions of such tendencies.
Peter J. Boettke, | Feb 18, 2014
We argue that in order to answer the challenges that James Buchanan put to contemporary political economists, a reconstruction of public choice theory building on the work of Buchanan, F.A. Hayek and Vincent Ostrom must take place. Absent such a reconstruction, and the significant challenges that Buchanan raised will continue to go unmet.
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!
Peter J. Boettke | Dec 01, 2013
The absence of dominion and discrimination in human relationships is a cardinal feature of a free and just society, according to James Buchanan. If classical liberals emphasized this benefit, they would help assuage the public’s fears about having to take on greater responsibilities if the welfare state were repealed.

Testimony & Comments

Veronique de Rugy | Dec 04, 2013
Despite Washington’s recent focus on the disastrous Affordable Care Act website rollout, policymakers are missing what the rollout glitches symbolize: the fundamental flaws that imbue government intervention. The work of public choice economists such as Nobel laureate James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, Mancur Olson, and William Niskanen has shown that, despite good intentions and lavish use of taxpayer resources, government solutions are not only unlikely to solve most of our problems—they often make problems worse.
Richard Williams | Jun 11, 2012
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has requested comment on the 2012 Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local and Tribal Entities (hereafter referred to as “the OMB report”). This comment has been produced by Richard A. Williams, Ph.D., of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, an education, research, and outreach organization that works with scholars, policy experts, and government officials to bridge academic theory and real-world practice.
Keith Hall | Jun 06, 2012
For BLS to effectively disseminate data directly to the public and maintain credibility as an independent, objective provider of data, DOL should not interfere with BLS’ dissemination of economic data through any means.
| May 09, 2012
A reverse mortgage for seniors is a reasonable idea, but should not be guaranteed by the Federal government. It is an ownership decision and the Federal government must stop trying to micromanage this decision, particularly since there is an easy alternative that does not require government guarantees.
| Apr 25, 2012
Let us be wary of creating another Jurassic Park policy change. We are in unchartered waters for housing finance and Federal Reserve policies and any further changes should be enacted with extreme caution.
J. W. Verret | Apr 17, 2012
After a careful review of the legislative requirements that the SEC consider investor protection, efficiency, competition and capital formation in adopting new rules, I would like to simply offer a list of six items that would demonstrate a sincere commitment by the SEC to fulfill its statutory mission. The first five I will list are in fact required by law if one carefully reads the legislative and judicial history of the SEC’s mandate to consider the economic impact of new rules.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Christopher Koopman, Nita Ghei | Aug 27, 2013
In the mid-1970s behavioral economics began to challenge the neoclassical rational actor model by fusing the insights of psychology and economics. Over the course of the next 40 years, a prescriptive framework built around these insights shifted focus toward attempting to mitigate the harm individuals cause themselves as a result of what the agencies view as “irrational” behavior.
Kenneth Button | May 17, 2012
A new Mercatus Center study looks at the evolution and outcomes of government regulations in air transportation since the 1978 law was enacted.
Michael L. Marlow, Sherzod Abdukadirov | Mar 01, 2012
Obesity is not the result of market failure. Americans do not lack the knowledge, rationale, or motivation to improve their health. Thus, pursuing regulations intended for a market failure will not solve the problem.
Richard Williams, Sherzod Abdukadirov | Feb 07, 2012
The United States’ regulatory system long has failed to consistently produce efficient, cost-effective regulations that deliver promised benefits. For decades, presidents and Congresses have attempted to fix the regulatory system through a series of statutes and executive orders aimed at increasing transparency and improving analysis. Yet the pattern of poor regulatory choices persists, suggesting the problems are not political but deeply embedded in the institutions themselves.
| Nov 2011
A new working paper, “Why the United States Needs to Restructure the Corporate Income Tax,” by Mercatus Center at George Mason University senior scholar Jason Fichtner suggests successful reform of the U.S. corporate tax code must address its fundamental problems: 1) the uncompetitive corporate income tax rate; and 2) the outdated “worldwide” system for corporate tax collection.
Richard Williams | Jan 11, 2011
In this research summary, Richard Williams discusses how regulations affect investment and jobs.

Speeches & Presentations

Peter J. Boettke | Apr 12, 2010
Professor Peter J. Boettke's remarks upon receiving the 2010 Adam Smith Award from the Association of Private Enterprise Education.
Peter J. Boettke | Aug 07, 2007
This paper is Peter J. Boettke's speech at the twelfth Sir Ronald Trotter Lecture in New Zealand. Sir Ronald Trotter was the first chairman of the New Zealand Business Roundtable, who was knighted in…
Frederic Sautet | Jun 09, 2005
Frederic Sautet on Voice of America…
Frederic Sautet | Nov 19, 2004
On October 19, 2004, Mercatus Center Senior Fellow Frederic Sautet delivered a presentation on institutions and entrepreneurship to the New Zealand Business Roundtable (NZBR). This talk was part of…
Peter J. Boettke | Oct 27, 2004
Is there a unique Austrian School of Economics that represents a viable research program in modern economics? Peter Boettke locates the intellectual position and opportunities for mutually beneficial…
| Nov 10, 2003
From the conference "America's Role as Nation Builder: Lessons Learned and Applied to Iraq." Discussion in this session revolved around concerns of nation building experts and practitioners.

Expert Commentary

Aug 20, 2015

The products of the Mercatus Center Gulf Coast Recovery Project continue to flow. Research projects among graduate students and alumni continue in the area of the entrepreneurial market process, the constitutional level of analysis and strategic behavior within government, and the informal rules that enable social groups to engage in effective collective action. Below is a list of books, journal articles, and policy papers that are a result of this research program to date…
Aug 06, 2015

The challenge faced by young Americans and the root cause of their tragic situation are perfectly described in a recent book by two scholars at the Manhattan Institute, Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Jared Meyer, called "Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America's Young." If you aren't convinced that millennials, unlike past generations, are in a bad way, they have a few facts for you.
Jul 29, 2015

For 40 years, the federal government has prohibited the American energy sector from exporting more than a tiny fraction of domestically produced crude. Fortunately, a bipartisan group of legislators is pushing to end this harmful restriction. They shouldn't waste any time. Selling American crude on the international market would boost domestic production while spurring economic growth at home and around the world.
Jul 21, 2015

Bob is one of our greatest living scholars. Specializing in economic history, Bob's first major work is his 1976 book, “Competition and Coercion.” In it, Bob documents the many ways that economic competition — including people's ability to move from place to place — enabled blacks to improve their economic situation after the Civil War. These improvements came despite the bigotry that then reigned in the South — and despite the activities of government.
Jul 14, 2015

It might be easy to forget when looking at New Orleans today how devastated the city was when Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. More than 1,800 people died as a result of Katrina and the subsequent flooding. As much as 80 percent of the city flooded, including over 134,000 occupied housing units (70 percent of all occupied housing units were damaged). Total damages were estimated at over $100 billion.
Jun 15, 2015

The scientific pretensions of economics have been seriously questioned in recent years. Macroeconomists failed to predict the financial crisis and then failed to agree on either the causes or the solutions. It pained me when even my mother began to wonder whether economists were as useful as dentists. Alvin Roth’s “Who Gets What—and Why” is the book that I shall give to mom to redeem my profession.

Charts

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy grew by a modest 2 percent in the third quarter of 2012. While this was stronger growth than the preceding quarter, all of the increase in GDP growth came from the biggest increase in federal government spending in over two years.

Experts

Paul Dragos Aligica is a senior research fellow and senior fellow at the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
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.
Bryan Caplan is a senior scholar at the Mercatus Center and a professor of economics at George Mason University. He specializes in public economics, public choice, psychology and economics, public opinion, economics of the family and education, genoeconomics, and Austrian economics.
Emily Chamlee-Wright is a senior research scholar and Board Member at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Her primary research interests include development economics, cultural economics, and indigenous markets in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Podcasts

Emily Chamlee-Wright | August 31, 2015
Emily Chamlee-Wright discusses public vs private sector response to Hurricane Katrina with the Schilling Show on WINA-AM in Virginia.

Upcoming Events

Sep 09, 2015
Luigi Zingales, one of the world’s foremost thinkers on financial development and capitalism, will join Tyler Cowen for a wide-ranging, intellectual dialogue as part of the "Conversations with Tyler" series.

Recent Events

The Mercatus Center invites you to join Research Fellow Christopher Koopman for a presentation examining the economics and policy issues surrounding the sharing economy.

Books

Nona Martin Storr, Emily Chamlee-Wright, Virgil Storr | Jul 2015
This book presents 17 oral histories of Hurricane Katrina survivors from four diverse New Orleans communities. The oral histories explore how these individuals, families, and communities began to rebuild after the devastation.

Media Clippings

Donald J. Boudreaux | Jun 27, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in Vox.
Garett Jones | May 27, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in Forbes.
Peter J. Boettke | Mar 03, 2014
Mercatus cited at The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Alexander Tabarrok | Feb 07, 2014
Alex Tabarrok cited at The Economist.
Tyler Cowen | Nov 07, 2013
Tyler Cowen's book, "Average is Over" cited at The New Yorker.
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