Mercatus Center Academic & Student Programs

Mercatus Center Academic & Student Programs The Mercatus Center’s Academic & Student Programs supports students, through a variety of fellowship programs, and scholars. http://asp.mercatus.org/
The Mercatus Center is a university-based research center that focuses on how markets solve problems & improve our lives.

For over 30 years, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University (previously the Center for the Study of Market Processes) has recruited, trained, and supported graduate students who have gone on to pursue careers in academia, government, and public policy as well as support scholars pursuing research on the cutting edge of academia. The Mercatus Center’s Academic & Student Programs provides support for scholars pursuing research in the Austrian, Virginia, and Bloomington schools of political economy and provides support for students at George Mason University as well as colleges and universities around the world. Mercatus student fellows have an opportunity to learn from and interact with an impressive collection of Mercatus faculty, affiliated scholars, and visitors. Past visiting scholars have included Nobel Laureates James Buchanan, Vernon Smith, Douglass North, and Elinor Ostrom, as well as eminent scholars such as Gordon Tullock, Ludwig Lachmann, Israel Kirzner, David Schmidtz, David Friedman, and Deirdre McCloskey.

Mission: The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas—bridging the gap between academic ideas and real-world problems. A university-based research center, the Mercatus Center advances knowledge about how markets work to improve people’s lives by training graduate students, conducting research, and applying economics to offer solutions to society’s most pressing problems. Our mission is to generate knowledge and understanding of the institutions that affect the freedom to prosper, and to find sustainable solutions that overcome the barriers preventing individuals from living free, prosperous, and peaceful lives.

This month, we’re #CelebratingElinorOstrom with a quote from her book Governing the Commons (1990), in which she analy...
05/13/2019

This month, we’re #CelebratingElinorOstrom with a quote from her book Governing the Commons (1990), in which she analyzes successful and unsuccessful styles of common pool resource management.

In the face of self-defeating moral views and creativity-sapping state control, we often become pessimistic about the fu...
05/13/2019
Pessimistically Optimistic about the Future

In the face of self-defeating moral views and creativity-sapping state control, we often become pessimistic about the future. Mercatus PhD alum Peter Boettke argues that, despite this growing pessimism, the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and the market process gives us reason to be optimistic.

Self-defeating moral views and creativity-sapping state control give us reason to be pessimistic about the future, but the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and the market makes us optimistic. These opposing forces will shape the institutions that determine the course of our economic future.

Mercatus is accepting abstracts for its 'Future of Work' conference in partnership with the Niskanen Center.  We invite ...
05/10/2019
The Future of Work

Mercatus is accepting abstracts for its 'Future of Work' conference in partnership with the Niskanen Center. We invite students and scholars to submit abstracts on the role of markets, civil society, and government in shaping the future of work and tech.

This two-day conference, in partnership with the Niskanen Center, aims to explore the role of markets, civil society, and government in shaping the future of work and technology.KEYNOTE SPEAKERSMichael C. MungerProfessor of Political Science, Economics, and Public Policy, Duke UniversityElizabeth Rh...

Adam Smith alum Adam Millsap recommends that states losing residents reconsider their policies and do what they can to m...
05/10/2019
People Are Moving To States With Responsible Governments

Adam Smith alum Adam Millsap recommends that states losing residents reconsider their policies and do what they can to make their states more attractive, or risk a worsening fiscal situation.

There is evidence that people tend to leave states that tax and spend more of their residents’ income. Many high-tax, high-spending states are already in financial trouble and further population loss will only aggravate their problems.

"Rather than rely on regulatory wrangling, policymakers should look to the role market-based mechanisms like warranties ...
05/09/2019
What the Internet of Things Can Learn from Used Cars | RealClearFuture

"Rather than rely on regulatory wrangling, policymakers should look to the role market-based mechanisms like warranties and guarantees can play in providing information about product quality in the "Internet of Things," just as they currently do in the market for used cars," write MA alums Anne Hobson and James Czerniawski.

This past week's

Is it possible to diminish moral hazard problems caused by federal deposit insurance? Mercatus PhD alum Thomas Hogan and...
05/09/2019
Alternatives to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Is it possible to diminish moral hazard problems caused by federal deposit insurance? Mercatus PhD alum Thomas Hogan and MA alum Kristine Johnson argue yes, and offer several alternative solutions in this article from the Independent Review.

Federal deposit insurance creates moral hazard that encourages risky banking practices and sets the stage for bank failures and financial crises. Alternatives to our current scheme include the creation of a more stable, privatized deposit insurance system, and the strengthening of market discipline....

We may not know all the information that contributes to price formation…but we do know it's F.A. Hayek's 120th birthda...
05/08/2019

We may not know all the information that contributes to price formation…but we do know it's F.A. Hayek's 120th birthday. #HappyBirthday, Hayek!

Mercatus is accepting abstracts for its 'Future of Work' conference in partnership with the Niskanen Center.  We invite ...
05/08/2019
The Future of Work

Mercatus is accepting abstracts for its 'Future of Work' conference in partnership with the Niskanen Center. We invite students and scholars to submit abstracts on the role of markets, civil society, and government in shaping the future of work and tech. http://ow.ly/Zpaq30oFUUK

This two-day conference, in partnership with the Niskanen Center, aims to explore the role of markets, civil society, and government in shaping the future of work and technology.KEYNOTE SPEAKERSMichael C. MungerProfessor of Political Science, Economics, and Public Policy, Duke UniversityElizabeth Rh...

Mercatus PhD alum Benjamin Powell and Adam Smith alum Audrey Redford discuss how the Harrison Narcotics Act accelerated ...
05/07/2019
Dynamics of Intervention in the War on Drugs

Mercatus PhD alum Benjamin Powell and Adam Smith alum Audrey Redford discuss how the Harrison Narcotics Act accelerated the war on drugs and created a host of unintended consequences in this article from the Independent Review.

The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act accelerated the war on drugs and had many unintended consequences that spurred future interventions. The Harrison Act was also an effect of earlier government policies—created in part to deal with prior interventions into narcotic markets.

In this article from Economic Affairs, Mercatus PhD alum Abigail Hall discusses William Easterly's critiques with foreig...
05/07/2019
Why Development Programmes Fail

In this article from Economic Affairs, Mercatus PhD alum Abigail Hall discusses William Easterly's critiques with foreign aid and development programs and relates them to the work of F.A. Hayek and James Buchanan.

This article explores the theoretical roots of Easterly's critiques and relates them to the work of two Nobel prize-winning economists, F.A. Hayek and James M. Buchanan. It explores the broader applicability of Easterly's criticisms by applying a similar framework to military activity.

In this article from the Journal of Private Enterprise, Mercatus PhD alum Alexander Salter discusses the outcomes of two...
05/06/2019
Political Property Rights and Governance Outcomes

In this article from the Journal of Private Enterprise, Mercatus PhD alum Alexander Salter discusses the outcomes of two different structures of political property rights: those that make the polity resemble a corporation, and those where the polity is characterized by a tragedy of the commons.

I present a theory of political property rights that complements familiar Tiebout mechanisms in explaining governance outcomes. I argue that when the structure of political property rights is such that the polity most closely resembles a corporation, governance will be largely productive. In contras...

TODAY is the last day to enter the raffle for books in political economy by applying to the Mercatus Joseph Schumpeter F...
05/06/2019

TODAY is the last day to enter the raffle for books in political economy by applying to the Mercatus Joseph Schumpeter Fellowship! #economicswithattitude

This book chapter by Mercatus PhD Alum Patrick Newman analyzes the two main divergent interpretations of Federal Reserve...
05/03/2019
Expansionary Monetary Policy at the Federal Reserve in the 1920s

This book chapter by Mercatus PhD Alum Patrick Newman analyzes the two main divergent interpretations of Federal Reserve monetary policy in the 1920s: the expansionary view described by Rothbard and earlier Austrian writers, and the contractionary view most notably held by Friedman and Schwartz and later monetary historians.

This paper analyzes the two main divergent interpretations of Federal Reserve monetary policy in the 1920s, the expansionary view described by Rothbard (2008a [1963]) and earlier “Austrian” writers, and the contractionary view most notably held by Friedman and Schwartz (1993 [1963]) and later mo...

This book by Mercatus PhD alums Emily Chamlee-Wright, Virgil Storr, and affiliated scholar Nona Martin Storr presents 17...
05/03/2019
How We Came Back

This book by Mercatus PhD alums Emily Chamlee-Wright, Virgil Storr, and affiliated scholar Nona Martin Storr presents 17 oral histories of Hurricane Katrina survivors from four diverse New Orleans communities. These testimonies show that communities can be surprisingly resilient in the wake of disaster, especially thanks to early and disproportionately large individual efforts.

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.

Mercatus PhD alums Christopher Coyne and Claudia Williamson analyze the net effects of openness to trade on 'economic cu...
05/02/2019
Trade Openness and Cultural Creative Destruction

Mercatus PhD alums Christopher Coyne and Claudia Williamson analyze the net effects of openness to trade on 'economic culture' in this article from the Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy. Read more below.

This paper empirically analyzes the net effect of trade openness on ‘economic culture,’ measured by indicators of trust, respect, level of self-determination, and obedience.

What does F. A. Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" have to say about today's sociopolitical landscape? Stefanie Haeffele and ...
05/01/2019
75 Years Down “The Road to Serfdom”

What does F. A. Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" have to say about today's sociopolitical landscape? Stefanie Haeffele and MA Fellow Michael Schultz answer this question at The Vienna Circle.

The impact of the Austrian political economist’s work was as immediate as it was widespread, sparking intense readership and fierce…

Mercatus PhD alum Maria Pia Paganelli observes that as the disciplines of the social sciences and others evolve, the stu...
05/01/2019
Recent Engagements with Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment

Mercatus PhD alum Maria Pia Paganelli observes that as the disciplines of the social sciences and others evolve, the studies of Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment evolve with them in her article in History of Political Economy.

Recent literature on Adam Smith and other eighteenth-century Scottish thinkers shows an engaged conversation between the Scots and today's scholars in the sciences that deal with humans—the social sciences and the humanities, as well as neuroscience and evolutionary psychology.

How can state preemption help get the nation's economy back on track? Read below as Mercatus Adam Smith alum Adam Millsa...
05/01/2019
When Cities Get In the Way

How can state preemption help get the nation's economy back on track? Read below as Mercatus Adam Smith alum Adam Millsap discusses in this U.S. News piece.

Cities are big economic drivers, and states need to ensure that growth is shared.

Mercatus PhD alum Steven Horwitz's book, "Hayek's Modern Family" (Palgrave Macmillan), is a classical liberal theory of ...
04/30/2019
Hayek's Modern Family

Mercatus PhD alum Steven Horwitz's book, "Hayek's Modern Family" (Palgrave Macmillan), is a classical liberal theory of the family as an evolving and undesigned social institution. Learn more about this book and where to purchase it below.

Hayek's Modern Family offers a classical liberal theory of the family, taking Hayekian social theory as the main analytical framework.

04/30/2019
Joseph Schumpeter Fellowship

Calling all GMU undergraduates: Don't forget to apply for our Joseph Schumpeter Fellowship by May 6 for the chance to win a set of books on political economy! The final application deadline is May 20.

For undergraduate students at George Mason University who are interested in learning more about political economy.Fall 2019 Application Deadline: May 20, 2019

Mercatus Bastiat alum Ryan Hagemann argues that airspace holds the potential to be the new platform for innovation and e...
04/29/2019
Free the skies for commercial drones

Mercatus Bastiat alum Ryan Hagemann argues that airspace holds the potential to be the new platform for innovation and experimentation in this article on CapX.

Around the world, the number of registered commercial drone operators is rapidly increasing. Unfortunately, few of them are in the United States thanks to an outdated and taxing regulatory scheme that has failed to keep pace with technological innovation.

In her #AlumniSpotlight, Mercatus MA alum Kristine Johnson describes the MA Fellowship as giving her “a framework from...
04/26/2019
Alumni Spotlight: Kristine Johnson

In her #AlumniSpotlight, Mercatus MA alum Kristine Johnson describes the MA Fellowship as giving her “a framework from which to view the policy-making world.”

Kristine Johnson wasn’t necessarily thinking about going to graduate school for economics. During her time as an undergraduate at Towson University, she pursued a BA in international studies. “I had taken economics classes as part of my degree, but I didn't have any sort of relevant policy resea...

04/26/2019
Joseph Schumpeter Fellowship

Applications for the Fall 2019 Joseph Schumpeter Fellowship are open! This competitive, semester-long fellowship is designed for undergraduates of any major at George Mason University who are interested in learning about the ideas and applications of political economy. Apply by May 6 for a chance to win a set of books on political economy. #economicswithattitude

For undergraduate students at George Mason University who are interested in learning more about political economy.Fall 2019 Application Deadline: May 20, 2019

In the face of self-defeating moral views and creativity-sapping state control, we often become pessimistic about the fu...
04/25/2019
Pessimistically Optimistic about the Future

In the face of self-defeating moral views and creativity-sapping state control, we often become pessimistic about the future. Mercatus PhD alum Peter Boettke argues that, despite this growing pessimism, the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and the market process gives us reason to be optimistic.

Self-defeating moral views and creativity-sapping state control give us reason to be pessimistic about the future, but the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and the market makes us optimistic. These opposing forces will shape the institutions that determine the course of our economic future.

In this article from the Review of Social Economy, Mercatus PhD alums Virgil Storr and Stefanie Haeffele discuss how loo...
04/25/2019
Post-­Disaster Community Recovery in Heterogeneous, Loosely-Connected Communities

In this article from the Review of Social Economy, Mercatus PhD alums Virgil Storr and Stefanie Haeffele discuss how loosely-connected communities overcome the tragedy of the commons problem to rebuild after disasters.

This article hopes to fill this gap in the literature by examining how loosely knit, heterogeneous communities can facilitate post-disaster community recovery and redevelopment. To examine this, we highlight the importance of community-based organizations and focus on the recovery efforts of Broadmo...

Does increased religious competition result in less governmental regulation of religion? Mercatus PhD alum Peter Boettke...
04/24/2019
Was Adam Smith Right About Religious Competition?

Does increased religious competition result in less governmental regulation of religion? Mercatus PhD alum Peter Boettke, Adam Smith alum Kathleen Sheehan, and Joshua Hall explore this question in this March 2016 paper in the Forum for Social Economics.

Adam Smith famously argued that increased competition in religion would result in more religious tolerance and that the benefits of competition in the marketplace would also be seen in religious instruction when many religious sects are tolerated. We use a cross-section of a maximum of 167 countries...

Was Magna Carta successful at constraining government? Mercatus PhD alums Peter Leeson and Paola Suarez examine this que...
04/23/2019
An Economic Analysis of Magna Carta

Was Magna Carta successful at constraining government? Mercatus PhD alums Peter Leeson and Paola Suarez examine this question in this article from the International Review of Law and Economics.

This paper uses the economic approach to self-enforcing constitutions to analyze Magna Carta and uses Magna Carta to evaluate the economic approach to self-enforcing constitutions.

In honor of #WorldLaboratoryDay, we're revisiting experimental economics research by Mercatus PhD alums Scott Beaulier a...
04/23/2019
Efficiency in Markets: Evidence from Classroom Experiments with a Cross-Section of Students from East and Central European Countries and the Former Soviet Union

In honor of #WorldLaboratoryDay, we're revisiting experimental economics research by Mercatus PhD alums Scott Beaulier and Peter Boettke.

Three experiments were run in Prague, Czech Republic to demonstrate to students the robustness of market institutions. Students participated in Vernon Smith’s double-auction experiment, the

"Re-evaluating Community Policing in a Polycentric System" discusses how the strategic interplay between federal, state,...
04/22/2019
Re-Evaluating Community Policing in a Polycentric System

"Re-evaluating Community Policing in a Polycentric System" discusses how the strategic interplay between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies results in the prioritization of federal over community initiatives, the militarization of domestic police, and the erosion of genuine community-police partnerships. Read this paper by Mercatus PhD alums Peter Boettke, Jayme Lemke, and Liya Palagashvili below.

Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues in The Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University in Bloomington conducted fieldwork in metropolitan police departments across the United States. Their findings in support of community policing dealt a blow to the popular belief that conso...

GMU undergraduates of all majors: if you love reading books and discussing meaningful ideas, the Mercatus Joseph Schumpe...
04/22/2019

GMU undergraduates of all majors: if you love reading books and discussing meaningful ideas, the Mercatus Joseph Schumpeter Fellowship is for you. Apply by May 6 to be entered in a raffle to win a set of books on political economy!

Congratulations to Mercatus PhD Alum Anthony Evans on receiving the 2019 ESCP Europe Teaching Award!
04/22/2019
Full Faculty Meeting reinforces the school’s European dimension | ESCP Europe

Congratulations to Mercatus PhD Alum Anthony Evans on receiving the 2019 ESCP Europe Teaching Award!

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the ESCP Europe website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time.

Are sovereign powers (i.e. legal tender status, public receivability) necessary to launch and explain the acceptance of ...
04/19/2019
Positively Valued Fiat Money after the Sovereign Disappears

Are sovereign powers (i.e. legal tender status, public receivability) necessary to launch and explain the acceptance of fiat money as a positive value? Mercatus PhD alum William Luther and Hayek Program Scholar Lawrence H. White use the case of the Somali shilling to argue that it is not.

The case of the Somali shilling defies the historical view that sovereign powers (i.e., legal tender status, public receivability) are necessary to explain the acceptance of fiat money at a positive value. Following the Somali state’s collapse in 1991, irredeemable paper shillings have continued t...

Behavioral economics has made its mark by bringing the limitations of individuals' cognitive abilities under intense scr...
04/19/2019
Error is Obvious, Coordination is the Puzzle

Behavioral economics has made its mark by bringing the limitations of individuals' cognitive abilities under intense scrutiny. Mercatus PhD alums Peter Boettke and Adam Martin, along with W. Zachary Caceres, argue that for Hayek, market institutions rather than individual agents bear the primary cognitive burden coordinating economic activity.

The authors argue that, for Hayek, market institutions rather than individual agents bear the primary cognitive burden in coordinating economic activity. Gaps in individual rationality thus fail to provide adequate grounds for positing market failures.

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