This paper suggests that there exists a neglected third branch of Chicago price theory, which includes Armen Alchian (1914-2013), James Buchanan (1919-2013), and Ronald Coase (1910-2013). We argue that this Alchian, Buchanan, Coase approach to price theory provides not a bridge between the "Old" Chicago School and the "New" Chicago School, but an alternative development of the Chicago School. Our paper while building on the joint insights of Alchian, Buchanan and Coase, is focused on Coase’s development of this approach, and clarifying his contribution.
This essay praises Gerald Gaus’s The Order of Public Reason as a building block for all normative explorations into the institutional foundations of human sociability. It evaluates the normative implications put forth by Gaus in terms of the Kirzner’s “finder’s keeper’s ethic.” This raises a question about the relationship between the moral order and the political order that underlies market processes.
Economists often model national defense as a pure public good optimally provided by a benevolent and omnipotent "defense brain" to maximize social welfare. This paper critically considers five assumptions associated with this view.
In a new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Roslyn Layton and Michael Horney survey broadband in America and compare broadband costs around the world. They find that the United States is a global leader in broadband, as measured by the level of broadband-enabled economic activity, the number of Internet-based companies, the level of digital exports, and the level of Internet-enabled employment.
This chapter argues that economic development originates not from the gains from trade and specialization under a division of labor, but fundamentally from an institutional framework of property rights which permits the gains from trade and innovation emerge on a societal wide scale. It is this framework that enables the transition from small scale trading and capital accumulation to medium scale trading and capital accumulation and finally to large scale trading and capital accumulation.
We argue that the future of Austrian political economy rests on the study of how institutional entrepreneurs discover and implement alternative institutional arrangements conducive to economic growth. This requires a dual level of analysis in spontaneous order studies.
Many states have certificate-of-need regulations, which prohibit hospitals, nursing homes, and ambulatory surgical centers from entering new markets or making changes to the existing capacity of medical facilities without first gaining approval from certificate-of-need regulators.
Standard macro theories have the same analytical structure as their micro counterparts. Where micro theories work with equilibrium between supply and demand for particular products, macro theories work with equilibrium applied to aggregates of products. In contrast, we pursue a systems-theoretic approach to the micro-macro relationship.
The governments of American states often attempt to incentivize businesses to locate within their
borders by offering targeted benefits to particular industries and companies. These benefits come
in many forms, including business tax credits for investments, property tax abatements, and
reductions in the sales tax. Despite good intentions, policymakers often overlook the unseen and
unintended negative consequences of targeted-benefit policies. This paper analyzes two major
downsides of these policies: (1) they lead to a misallocation of resources, and (2) they encourage
rent-seeking and thus cronyism. We argue that these costs, which are often longer-term and not
readily observable at the time the targeted benefits are granted, may very well outweigh any
possible short-term economic benefits.
Mercatus PhD Fellow Vipin Veetil, along with Akshaya Vijayalakshmi and Srikanth Viswanathan, address Amartya Sen's criticism of cash-transfer programs such as education vouchers in the Wall Street Journal.
While the "invisible hand" argument was initially focused on the ability of commerce to generate cooperation and ameliorate conflict among strangers, it gradually came to be exclusively associated with a sort of ruthless efficiency and the obtainment of optimality conditions. The authors attempt to recapture the doux-commerce thesis and its relevance for contemporary debates over commerce and culture.