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Have Coase – Will Travel

In 1960, Ronald Coase published what would become one of the most cited articles in economics and contribute to his receipt of a Nobel Prize. Coase’s point was both simple and revolutionary. First, he noted, externalities—costs from economic activity borne by people not directly involved in that activity—are reciprocal: for example, a factory’s pollution that .. MORE

An Economist Looks at Europe

Lord Robbins the Lion

When Lord Lionel Robbins accepted to become the supervisor of my Ph.D. thesis I felt lucky, but did not know how lucky I was. I had been studying for a degree in Political Science at the London School of Economics. I wanted to go further and dig under politics to uncover the economic strands of .. MORE

Featured Article

In Praise of Debt

We often hear that it’s a bad idea to take on large debts or even to get into debt at all. “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” says Polonius to his son Laertes in one of the most famous passages from Hamlet. Polonius’s reason for avoiding borrowing is that it “dulls the edge of .. MORE

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Some Counterintuitive Thoughts on Monetary Policy

By Scott Sumner

Income Distribution

The Inheritances that Matter Most

By James Broughel

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

My Weekly Reading for April 14, 2024

By David Henderson

Violence and War

Religious Incentives and Life in Society

By Pierre Lemieux

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Public Goods and Public Bads

By Art Carden

Economics of Crime

The Anti-Chinese Roots of American Public Policy

By Scott Sumner

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Social Control at the School for Good Mothers

By Jayme Lemke

Business Economics

Further Decline in the Value of the Costco Hot Dog

By David Henderson


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Mary Hirschfeld on Economics, Culture, and Aquinas and the Market

Author, economist, and theologian Mary Hirschfeld of Villanova University talks about her book, Aquinas and the Market, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hirschfeld looks at the nature of our economic activity as buyers and sellers and whether our pursuit of economic growth and material well-being comes at a cost. She encourages a skeptical stance about .. MORE


Emily Oster on the Family Firm

Author and economist Emily Oster of Brown University talks about her book, The Family Firm, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Oster argues that running your family life the way you’d run your own business makes for a better family in today’s crazy world. And where possible, the myriad of decisions you make should be based .. MORE


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Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

My Weekly Reading for April 14, 2024

Here are some highlights of my weekly reading for the week just passed. Providing Labor Market Context for Debt-Related Driver’s License Suspensions in Ohio by Kyle D. Fee and Brian A. Mikelbank, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Community Development Reports, February 23, 2o24. Excerpt: Based on our analysis, over 830,000 Ohioans could be at risk .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Public Goods and Public Bads

Public Goods differ from private goods in that they are non-rivalrous in consumption and nonexcludable. If I watch a fireworks show, it doesn’t reduce the amount of “fireworks show” my neighbor can enjoy. If I’m going to put on a fireworks show, I can’t prevent non-payers from watching my bombs bursting in air.  Since public .. MORE


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continued relevance of our classic titles.

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The Economics of Ludwig von Mises: Toward a Critical Reappraisal

By Laurence S. Moss

In March 1974 I got in touch with Professor Leland Yeager, who was then president-elect of the southern Economics Association, and told him that I wanted to organize a symposium on the economic thought of Ludwig von Mises for the November 1974 meeting of our association in Atlanta, Georgia. Mises had died in October 1973, .. MORE

The Positive Theory of Capital

By Eugen v. Böhm-Bawerk

In his Geschichte und Kritik der Kapitalzins-Theorieen (1884), which I translated in 1890 under the title of Capital and Interest, Professor Bohm-Bawerk, after passing in critical review the various opinions, practical and theoretical, held from the earliest times on the subject of interest, ended with the words: “On the foundation thus laid, I shall try .. MORE

Book Reviews and Suggested Readings

He Tells Us It’s the Institutions

By Arnold Kling

[I]nstitutions should be formative… they should act as links between the personal and the social. What we need, then, is a recommitment to such an understanding of institutions. Our challenge is less to calm the forces that are pelting our society than to reinforce the structures that hold us together. That calls for a spirit .. MORE

What Is a Just Price?

By Paul Mueller

with Jan Gerber Few economists today ask whether prices are just. This is due in part to positivism and efforts to remain “value-neutral,” but ultimately, economists no longer discuss just prices because advances in economic thinking make such reasoning intractable or irrelevant. For most folks, however, concerns about just prices still matter—especially regarding housing and .. MORE



Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society

On April 10, 2013, Liberty Fund and Butler University sponsored a symposium, “Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society.” The evening began with solo presentations by the three participants–Michael Munger of Duke University, Robert Skidelsky of the University of Warwick, and Richard Epstein of New York University. (Travel complications forced the fourth invited participant, James Galbraith .. MORE


An Animal That Trades

A five-part short video series on the life and contemporary relevance of Adam Smith. This video series, produced by AdamSmithWorks, can be watch as a full 38-minute feature, or in five thematic, classroom-friendly chunks. To access all, click here.   Below are some discussion prompts related to this video:   Part 1: The Invisible Hand .. MORE

Econlib Videos

Intellectual Portrait Series

Conversations with some of the most original thinkers of our time

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College Economics Topics

Supplementary materials for popular college textbooks used in courses in the Principles of Economics, Microeconomics, Price Theory, and Macroeconomics are suggested by topic.

Economist Biographies

From the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

Government Policy, Macroeconomics

Federal Budget

Deficit spending has been a way of life for the federal government for most years since World War II. A whole generation of elected federal officials has come and gone without ever balancing the budget. The last time that federal budget expenditures were brought into balance with revenues was in 1969, and prior to that .. MORE

Basic Concepts, Macroeconomics


One of the most popular definitions of recessions is that they are periods when real gross national product (GNP) has declined for at least two consecutive quarters. In 1990, real GNP declined between the third and fourth quarters and again between the fourth quarter of 1990 and the first quarter of 1991. Hence, there is .. MORE

Government Policy, Macroeconomics, Money and Banking

Bank Runs

A run on a bank occurs when a large number of depositors, fearing that their bank will be unable to repay their deposits in full and on time, simultaneously try to withdraw their funds immediately. This may create a problem because banks keep only a small fraction of deposits on hand in cash; they lend .. MORE


Every man is, no doubt, by nature, first and principally recommended to his own care; and as he is fitter to take care of himself than of any other person, it is fit and right that it should be so.

-Adam Smith

There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs as protection against political despotism.

-John Stuart Mill Full Quote >>

In every country, it always is and must always be the interest f the great body of the people to buy whatever they want of those who sell it cheapest. The proposition is so very manifest, that it seems ridiculous to take any pains to prove it; not could it ever have been called into ...

-Adam Smith Full Quote >>