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Christopher Coyne

Christopher Coyne

  • Associate Director, F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Director of Graduate Programs, George Mason University

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.

View PDF of Curriculum Vitae.

Published Research

Christopher Coyne | Mar 2015
In Out of Poverty, Benjamin Powell concludes that the answer to this question is a resounding “No!” In stark contrast to the way that most people think about sweatshops, Powell argues that sweatshops are part of the development process, a process which makes the lives of workers better off.
Christopher Coyne, Claudia Williamson | Feb 2015
The authors analyze the relationship between foreign aid and the “culture of contracting.” Contracting culture refers to cultural characteristics — trust, respect, level of self-determination, and level of obedience — which allow for impersonal exchange. Theoretically, aid may affect the culture of contracting for better or worse. The authors empirically analyze this possibility and find that aid generates negative effects on the culture of contracting.
Christopher Coyne, Abigail Hall | Dec 2014
Recent scholarship regarding the idea of a U.S. Empire has raised serious questions as to the feasibility and desirability of imperial ambitions. This paper traces the debate over the net-benefit of empire back to the Classical economists. Adam Smith argued that the British Empire was a net cost while John Stuart Mill concluded the same empire was a net benefit. Contemporary arguments about a U.S. Empire map neatly to the divergent views of Smith and Mill. In addition to engaging in an exercise in history of thought, the authors use Smith’s political economy as a means of adjudicating between the different claims regarding the feasibility of empire.
Christopher Coyne, Abigail Hall, Patrick McLaughlin, Ann Zerkle | Dec 2014
This paper analyzes a hidden cost of war: the effect of the mass mobilization of reserve troops on the response times of domestic emergency services to accidents.

Working Papers

Christopher Coyne, Thomas Duncan | Jan 10, 2015
The attempt to exercise top-down government authority, even with the most noble of intentions, will ultimately face problems similar to those faced in all types of central planning. The limits of human reason and the planner’s ability to engage in rational constructivism apply as strongly abroad as they do domestically. This chapter lays out those limitations and encourages a note of caution in attempts to intervene abroad.
Christopher Coyne, Thomas Duncan | Jan 10, 2015
This paper analyzes the “revolving door” phenomena in the military sector in the United States. The revolving door refers to the back-and-forth movement of personnel between the government and private sector. We trace the historical and economic reasons behind the emergence of this phenomenon and discuss the related perverse consequences, including the perpetuation of the permanent war economy which serves the narrow interests of select elites rather than the broad interests of citizens.
Christopher Coyne | Sep 25, 2014
The opening lines of F.A. Harper's 1951 article, "In Search of Peace," read as follows: "Charges of pacifism are likely to be hurled at anyone who in these troubled times raises any question about the race into war. If pacifism means embracing the objective of peace, I am willing to accept the charge. If it means opposing all aggression against others, I am willing to accept that charge also. It is now urgent in the interest of liberty that many persons become "peacemongers"."
Christopher Coyne | Aug 24, 2014
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.


Christopher Coyne


Peter J. Boettke, Christopher Coyne, Peter Leeson | Dec 2014
An important question for any researcher who wishes to revisit the socialist calculation debate is: Why beat a dead horse? With the collapse of the communism in 1991, other than for historical purposes, there seems to be little value in rehashing the debate over socialism’s feasibility. Nevertheless, we believe that there are at least two very good reasons to consider this debate again.


Christopher Coyne | May 09, 2014
Chris Coyne discusses his new book Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails on The Tom Woods Show.