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Christopher Coyne

Christopher Coyne

  • Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program

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.

Coyne is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of four books, including, most recently, Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails. He is a prolific writer of articles for scholarly journals, has published numerous policy briefs, and also has written for the Daily Caller, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and others.

Coyne is the co–editor in chief of the Review of Austrian Economics, the coeditor of the Independent Review, and the book-review editor of Public Choice. He is a member of the Board of Scholars for the Virginia Institute for Public Policy.

Coyne was a Hayek Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and worked in the internal consulting services at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Coyne received his PhD in economics from George Mason University and his BS in business administration from Manhattan College.

Published Research

Christopher Coyne, Rachel L. Coyne | Apr 2014
Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves the partial or complete excision of external female genitalia and other damage to the female genital organs. This paper develops the identity economics of FGM as a complement to the agency-cost explanation provided by previous rational choice theorists.
Christopher Coyne | Mar 19, 2014
The most that an author can hope for is that others will read their work. An even greater honor is when readers take the time to provide thoughtful comments on the content of that work. I truly appreciate that the contributors to this symposium have not only taken the time to read Doing Bad by Doing Good (DBDG), but have also provided thoughtful observations on a variety of themes discussed in, or related to, the book. In what follows I offer my reflections on each of the articles in the volume. I separate my thoughts into several categories which align with the themes of the papers in this issue. Where multiple papers fall into a single category I provide sub-section by the last name of the author(s).
Christopher Coyne | Jan 2014
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.
Christopher Coyne, Thomas Duncan | Dec 2013
How does the permanent war economy interact, and subsume, the private, non-military economy? Can the two remain at a distance while sharing resource pools? This forthcoming paper argues that they cannot.

Working Papers

Christopher Coyne, Abigail Hall | Mar 17, 2014
This paper analyzes how foreign interventions can result in a broadening of government powers and a concurrent reduction of citizens’ liberties and freedoms domestically. The authors develop an analytical framework to examine the effects of coercive foreign interventions on the scope of domestic government activities. Facing limited or altogether absent constraints abroad, coercive foreign interventions serve as a testing ground for domestically-constrained governments to experiment with new technologies and methods of social control over foreign populations.
Christopher Coyne, Abigail Hall | Sep 15, 2013
The purpose of this paper is to balance this largely one-sided treatment of the U.S. government’s dominant position in the international arms market. We discuss several negative consequences and costs associated with U.S. arms sales which call into question the net benefit of the U.S. government’s control over global arms.
Christopher Coyne, Abigail Hall | Jul 19, 2013
This paper analyzes the private provision of public and quasi-public goods in a free society. In particular, the authors examine philanthropy as an avenue through which such goods are already produced and may be provided in a society without a central government.
Abigail Hall, Christopher Coyne | Jun 26, 2013
This paper provides a political economy analysis of the evolution of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or “drones”, in the United States. Focus is placed on the interplay between the political and private economic influences; and their impact on the trajectory of political, economic, and, in this case, military outcomes.


Christopher Coyne


Christopher Coyne | Apr 2013
In 2010, Haiti was ravaged by a brutal earthquake that affected the lives of millions. The call to assist those in need was heard around the globe. Yet two years later humanitarian efforts led by governments and NGOs have largely failed.


Christopher Coyne | June 07, 2013
Christopher Coyne speaks to the Cato Institute about his book, Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails.