Archive for the 'Announcement' Category

Economics of the Undead: Zombies, Vampires, and the Dismal Science

July 11, 2014

by Glen Whitman

Last year in this space, I posted the Call for Abstracts for a forthcoming book called Economics of the Undead. That project is now coming to fruition! The book will officially be published tomorrow; here’s the Amazon page, and here’s the Barnes & Noble page. (The Kindle version should also become available tomorrow.) If the brilliant title and fetching cover haven’t already convinced you to buy the book, then you should visit the official website, which includes the table of contents, chapter excerpts, a course guide, and even a blog.

I know that some economists, including some who might frequent this page, have a problem with the term “dismal science.” For that reason, I thought I should post the following passage from the book’s introduction:

But before you start sampling, let’s return for a moment to the subtitle of this book: “Zombies, Vampires, and the Dismal Science.” In a book about the undead, we couldn’t resist the temptation to use the economics discipline’s most famous nickname. But while many people know economics as the dismal science, few know the true origin of that phrase. It came from Thomas Carlyle, another Scottish philosopher. And Carlyle was not denigrating economists for their (quite real) tendency to emphasize the limits of our resources and the barriers to remaking society as a fanciful utopia. No, Carlyle was criticizing economists for supporting the abolition of slavery! He was incensed by the optimism of economists like John Stuart Mill, who believed that people of African origin—like people of all races—were capable of governing themselves.

We tell this story because we think you’ll find, possibly to your surprise, that this book presents one of the more optimistic perspectives you’ll find on the undead threat. From Darwyyn Deyo and David T. Mitchell’s argument that we should trade with vampires instead of staking them; to Kyle Bishop, David Tufte, and Mary Jo Tufte’s suggestion that innovative humans might ultimately achieve victory over the zombie threat; to Brian Hollar’s discussion of how humans will seek prosperity even after a zombie apocalypse, a broad theme emerges: that humans—and maybe our recently dead brethren as well—have a vast capacity to cope with adversity and somehow make the world a better place.

(There’s also a citation to Levy and Peart in there, which I have omitted from this post.)

Economics Music Video Contest: Markets Promote Peace

June 30, 2014

by Edward Stringham

As a professor, I am a  fan of rigorous economic research, but I am also a fan of helping students learn about how important economics is in an engaging way. John Papola did an excellent job with the Keynes Versus Hayek music videos (especially the second one with yours truly), and over the past couple years I have had students make economics music videos. Think it is impossible to have music videos about Supply and Demand or Economic Value is Subjective? Think again! The results of the 2012 Supply and Demand Music Video Contest and the 2013 Economic Value is Subjective Video Contest have  been fantastic and have had more than 100,000 views on Youtube. See the winning entries below.

I am pleased to announce the 2014 Economics Music Video Contest on Markets Promote Peace. Winners get $2,500 and their professor gets $500. According to the great 19th century liberal, Richard Coben, markets help change a relationship between strangers from one of indifference, or even contempt, to one of mutual benefit. People who may not have cared about each other, now see the other party as an ally. Militarism, on the other hand, causes conflict. To Cobden an important, more humane, and more effective substitute for militarism in the international realm is the expansion of markets.

Continue reading about the contest here:

Winners of  the 2013 Value is Subjective Music Video Contest


Winners of the 2012 Supply and Demand Music Video Contest



October 15, 2013

by Mario Rizzo

There have been no posts in a long time. Apologies to our readers.

I have been working on my book with Glen Whitman on new paternalism, behavioral economics and rationality. I have also been hard at work establishing the Classical Liberal Institute at the NYU Law School. I am excited about both projects. Nevertheless, posts will begin to appear again on ThinkMarkets. Please spread the word.

Tomorrow there will be the first new post of our second wind.

Stay tuned.









A New Journal from The Ronald Coase Institute

July 24, 2013

by Mario Rizzo

Readers of this blog may be interested in learning that the awaited-and-hoped-for new journal is actually coming soon. It is a welcome change from the usual in economics today. I hope that Austrians might consider submitting articles of high quality. The following is taken from the website of the Ronald Coase Institute.

A New Journal Coming Soon
Man and the Economy: A Journal of the Coase Society
Editors: Ronald Coase & Ning Wang
Publisher: De Gruyter    Inaugural Issue: April 2014

From the editors:

We are pleased to announce that Man and the Economy will soon be launched. As revealed by its title, Man and the Economy commits to a particular viewpoint of economics: a study of man as he is and a study of the economy as actually exists. This is in sharp contrast to the prevailing view where the economic actor is treated as an atomized utility maximizer and the economy as an artifact of mechanical design, which misrepresents the character of man and the nature of the economy. Man and the Economy restores the economy as an open and evolving social organism of cooperation and competition.

Professor Ronald Coase was editor of the Journal of Law and Economics(JLE) for 18 years. During his editorship, LJE not only became a distinct journal, but also helped to create a new field of study, law and economics. Man and the Economy aims to do to economics what JLE has done to law and economics. Professor Coase serves as founding editor of the new journal. Dr. Ning Wang, who has been working with Professor Coase since 1998, will serve as managing co-editor. They are joined by two associate editors, Sam Peltzman of the University of Chicago and Guang-zhen Sun of the University of Macau, along with a distinguished editorial board made up of economists, anthropologists, political scientists, sociologists, and legal scholars from all over the world.

Man and the Economy starts in 2014 and publishes two issues a year in the first three years. It welcomes empirical (historical, qualitative, statistical, experimental) investigations and theoretical explorations that shed light on how the economy works and how it changes over time. We are committed to making Man and the Economy international and interdisciplinary.

We are keen to publish articles that examine how the emerging market economy works and evolves in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe as well as contributions by non-economists that focus on the working of the economy. Man and the Economy acceptsOriginal Articles (regular research papers), Research Notes (interesting ideas and findings not fully developed), Voices from the Field(contributions from practitioners in the business and policy community that are of interest to students of the economy), Marketplace for Ideas (interviews with leading scholars and other game-changers in the field), Wisdom of the Past (insights on man and the economy that have been largely forgotten), and Letters from Readers.

We aim to makeMan and the Economy the equivalent of Nature or Science in social sciences, read by and with contribution from the concerned public, policy-makers, business and legal professionals, as well as academics who look up to economics as a study of man as he is and of the economy as it actually exists in the real world.

Elinor Ostrom, RIP

June 12, 2012

by Mario Rizzo

This will not be a review of her scholarly contributions. I have already made some attempt at that in a post shortly after her richly-deserved Nobel prize in economics. And I also link an announcement of her death here. 

I met Professor Ostrom at a celebration of her work at GMU after she won the prize. I was fortunate enough to be invited to dinner with her and just a few other people afterwards. I was so positively impressed by her, first, as a human being. She was kind, funny and liked a good scotch. (I stuck with the wine.) As a scholar, she was not only brilliant but she was non-dogmatic about methods, willing to learn from others, and had a wonderful combination of humility and self-confidence. She knew how important a good story is to the advancement of science, and not just heuristically.

She and Peter Boettke apparently “clicked” academically. After all, he saw her importance and published a book about her work before the Nobel Committee recognized her (and 99% of all economists ever heard of her!).

At the end of obituaries it is customary to say “she will be missed.” But, really, this time she will be missed by more than her family and friends, but by all of those who learned from her writings or from her in person. We carry on —  impoverished by her death, enriched by her life.

Hayek Lecture by Taylor

June 4, 2012

John Taylor received the Manhattan Institute’s 2012 Hayek prize for his book, First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America’s Prosperity In the lecture he gave for the occasion, Professor Taylor argued for rules-based policies—-that would be a real reform. The video of the lecture is on the Manhattan Institute site.   It was also published in the WSJ

Fed in Global Bailout

December 29, 2011

Gerald O’Driscoll explains how the Federal Reserve is bailing out European banks.  Click for his  insightful piece in the Wall Street Journal.

“National Competitiveness”

August 19, 2011

by Mario Rizzo

A new book has been published, Institutional Economics and National Competitiveness,  edited by long-time colloquium member — Professor Young Back Choi of St. John’s University. Here is the publisher’s description. Please ask your library to order it.

This book offers a strong contribution to the growing field of institutional economics, going beyond the question of why institutions matter and examines the ways in which different types of institutions are conducive to the enhancement of competitiveness and economic development. Adopting a variety of approaches, ranging from New Institutional Economics, Public Choice, Constitutional Political Economy and Austrian Economics, to more traditional economic approaches, contributors examine the important issues of interest to development economics.

This book asks whether democracy is a pre-condition for economic development, what the proper role of government is in the age of globalization and whether successful government led policies were the cause of South Korea’s economic development. As well as these key questions, the book covers the issues of whether the government should rely on the market process to encourage economic development or must they interfere, and by what criteria one can judge a proposal for policies for economic prosperity. The book tries to make a contribution by introducing a variety of perspective, some argue in favour of industrial policies while others argue for a lesser role for the government and a greater entrepreneurial freedom. Some question the wisdom of promoting democracy as a necessary condition for economic development while others argue that political liberalization is the basis of lasting competitive edge of an economy

Check out the details here at the Routledge site. This book is in their series, “Frontiers of Political Economy.”

Austrian Law and Economics: The Definitive Collection

July 29, 2011

by Mario Rizzo

Edward Elgar has announced the publication of a two-volume collection of Austrian law and economics articles. The marks the first definitive collection of articles in this field. It is a book for your university or public library. Please recommend it! 


Edited by Mario J. Rizzo, Department of Economics, New York University, US

August 2011 1,488 pp Hardback 978 1 84542 753 5 Regular Price $790.00  Web Price $711.00 

The use of economics to study law was pioneered by the Austrian School of Economics. The nineteenth century founders of the school believed that economics could contribute to understanding the spontaneous development of common law as well as the nature of legal rights. For this insightful two-volume collection Mario Rizzo has selected key papers from today’s vibrant Austrian School, focusing on the study of property, market-chosen law, slippery-slope analysis, entrepreneurship, institutions, decentralized social knowledge, and the evolution of legal institutions.
These volumes represent the cutting-edge Austrian contributions to economics and will be an essential reference source for both students and researchers. Read the rest of this entry »

Great New Blog

June 7, 2011

by Bill Butos

Friends of ours, including Richard Ebeling, Steve Horwitz, Gerry O’Driscoll, George Selgin, and Larry White, and others, are contributors to a new blog on “Free Banking”.

Quoting its credo, 

“The Free Banking blog is a venue for leading free banking advocates to share their insights with the world. This illustrious cast includes academics, public policy experts, government officials, and rabble rousers. Guest bloggers will feature financial gurus, entrepreneurs, historians, celebrities, and many other different perspectives.
We hope that making these ideas and conversations more accessible will help educate the lay public, amateur economists, and influential intellectuals. Most importantly we aspire to promote and facilitate the transition to free banking in both developed and developing countries.”