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!
Christopher Coyne | Dec 01, 2013
Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan laid down a new foundation for political economy and classical liberalism. To understand its development, it’s helpful to note Buchanan’s indebtedness to the writings of Frank Knight, Knut Wicksell, and Italian public-finance scholars.

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

Feb 01, 2016

We should embrace the key role that our neighbors play during and after disasters. Returning to normalcy means working together to clear the snow, supporting the business owners who remain open to sell supplies and embracing the importance of local entrepreneurs.
Jan 12, 2016

With his last State of the Union address tonight, President Barack Obama has much to look back on over his past 8 years in office. Our experts have taken this time to reflect on some of the highlights he might bring up in his speech tonight.
Dec 21, 2015

With the holiday season upon us, many people will be looking to find ways to not only give gifts to their loved ones and friends but to also give back to their communities and donate to worthy causes. There are many options to choose from, including large multinational NGOs as well as local nonprofits and religious organizations, and determining where to donate your time and money is a difficult decision to make. However, lessons from post-disaster recovery suggest that donating to local social entrepreneurs can be a worthy endeavor.
Dec 17, 2015

It's Christmas time again, and with it come the dreams of better times. Families struggling with the consequences of the most recent recession will be happy to know that there is a simple way to improve their lives and keep or make more money in the process. It's called economic freedom, and the United States used to be very good at maintaining it. Economic freedom is measured by, among other things, levels of personal choice, the ability to enter markets and the security of privately owned property. According to the Fraser Institute's annual Economic Freedom of the World report, the United States ranks 16th in terms of being an economically free country. It is a significant fall from its second-place status in 2000.
By John Nye |
Nov 25, 2015

Douglass C. North passed away on Nov. 23, 2015, at the age of 95. A recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, he was one of the most cited and influential scholars of his generation—not just in economics, but also in law, political science, history, and development. Though he started as a conscientious objector and even a Marxist before World War 2, North's views constantly evolved and in the end, he did more than anyone to restore to the study of economics the importance of good institutions as the basis for the success of modern market capitalism.
By John Nye |
Nov 25, 2015

Doug will be remembered for many things and others can go through his list of honors, awards, and accomplishments. But for me, two things will always stand out — his devotion to his students and his personal role in my life as mentor, colleague, and friend. On the first point, one could note the large number of great scholars who emerged under his supervision in both Seattle and St. Louis or those who were simply inspired by his teaching to pursue careers in academia.

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.

Videos

Podcasts

Donald J. Boudreaux | September 24, 2015
Donald Boudreaux addresses the moral aspects of capitalism in light of Pope Francis’s US visit for Tim Farley on POTUS (Sirius XM Radio).

Recent Events

Join Mercatus senior health care scholar Brian Blase, senior regulatory fellow Patrick McLaughlin, & senior budget reform fellow, Jason J. Fichtner, for a Capitol Hill Campus that will showcase Mercatus resources & explore how congressional staff can more effectively use our research.

Books

Peter J. Boettke, Virgil Storr | Dec 2015
This study represents a serious challenge to conventional thinking in contemporary comparative systems, and the economics of socialism. It disputes the commonly accepted view of both the nature of the 'socialist calculation debate' of the 1930s and the lessons to be derived from it.

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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