Economic History Series

Henry Simons’s Positive Program for Laissez-Faire

The 1930s were a difficult time for classical liberals. In response to the Great Depression, the federal government undertook a massive expansion...

Harold Demsetz and Israel Kirzner Understood That Competition Regulates Markets

Economists Harold Demsetz and Israel Kirzner challenged the prevailing orthodoxy in microeconomic analysis and public policy beginning with their respective work in...

How Protests Against the Jim Crow Credit Market Changed the Civil Rights Movement

Before the civil rights movement captured the nation’s attention, activists and community groups were protesting against exploitative credit and exclusionary lending practices...

How a Wave of Corporate Takeovers Ushered In the Gospel of Shareholder Value

In an excerpt from his new book, Ages of American Capitalism, economic historian Jonathan Levy explains how "financiers blew up the postwar...

Iowa’s “Butter-Margarine War”: T. W. Schultz’s Fight for Academic Freedom

During the Second World War, economists at Iowa State College published a pamphlet titled “Putting Dairying on a War Footing,” which would...

James M. Buchanan Trusted Market Mechanisms Because He Trusted Individuals

James Buchanan, one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century, believed that individuals were able to voluntarily devise private and...

What Stakeholder Capitalism Can Learn From Jensen and Meckling

Jensen and Meckling’s 1976 article is an academic classic, but heavily criticized by stakeholder capitalists for arguing that corporate structures should be...

An Unusual History: A Conversation Between Two Economists About the Economics Department at the University of Chicago

In conversation with Sebastian Edwards, Arnold C. Harberger reflects on his time at the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago.

Why We Need To Re-think Friedman’s Ideas About Monopolies

Friedman’s New York Times Magazine article on the social purpose of business was a specific intervention in the debate over shareholder activism...

Are Intellectual Property Rights Neoliberal? Yes and No

Today’s global IP regime is often described by critical scholars bluntly as “neoliberal.” But in fact, the topic of intellectual property rights...

Latest news

Cogs and Monsters: Is Economics Destined to Remain a Dismal Science?

In her bold new book Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is, and What It Should Be, Cambridge professor Diane Coyle offers a...

Is there a “California Effect” in Data Privacy Law? Why the EU is Not the World’s Privacy Cop

It is common lore in data privacy law and other fields that stringent regulatory standards (such as the ones introduced in the...

Governments Were Forced to Restrict Civil Liberties to Deal With Covid-19. More Flexible Constitutions Could Prevent That from Becoming the New Normal

A new paper argues that exploitation of gaps within democratic constitutions during emergencies, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, has the potential to...

The Social Responsibility of Business Includes Profits

Profits these days are often seen as a dirty word, but it is wrong to demonize profits. A company’s responsibility is not...

Academic Gatekeepers, Real and Imagined, Are Threatening the Credibility of the Field of Political Finance 


One objective of political finance is to hold power to account. However, gatekeeping, both direct and indirect, is keeping important work from...

A Call for Comments: Have You Been Affected by Academic Gatekeeping?

On Friday, ProMarket published a piece by Renée Adams about the impact of academic gatekeeping in the political finance. Do you have...

How Big Data Fuels Big Tech’s Anticompetitive Conduct and Gatekeeping Power

Achieving a truly open internet is only possible through robust online competition free from the control of today’s digital gatekeepers like Facebook...