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Book Review

Is Inequality a Problem?

Book Review of The Poor and the Plutocrats: From the Poorest of the Poor to the Richest of the Rich (Oxford University Press 2021) by Francis Teal.1 Is inequality a problem? Many people seem to think so, if we judge the public discussions in Europe and the United States over the last decade or so. .. MORE

Book Review

Economists Waging War

A Book Review of Economists at War: How a Handful of Economists Helped Win and Lose World Wars, by Alan Bollard.1 Most economists go through their lives wondering if any of their work has had an effect on the world beyond academe. The seven economists that Alan Bollard writes about in Economists at War probably .. MORE

Book Review, Kling's Corner

The Simplicity Assumption

This attitude… is based on the belief that “the difficulties and disorders of humankind can be overcome by some large-scale adjustment: it suffices to devise a new arrangement, a new system, and people will be released from their temporary prison into a realm of success.” —Alan Jacobs, How to Think: A Survival Guide for a .. MORE

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Government Budgets and Taxation

Bureaucracy Without Romance

By Amy Willis

Adam Smith

Measuring Inequality Across Multiple Dimensions

By Chelsea Follett

Economic and Political Philosophy

Flaws in the Greatest Good for the Greatest Number

By Pierre Lemieux

Free Markets

Capitalism and Freedom

By Scott Sumner

Free Markets

What Happened to the Mixed Economy?

By David Henderson


DEI: Breaking Down Barriers (to Entry)

By Kevin Corcoran

Labor Market

Timmons on Occupational Licensing

By David Henderson

Income and Wealth distribution

How Not to Tax the Rich

By Scott Sumner


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Pandemic Priorities

It’s been over two years since the COVID pandemic began, and a great deal of progress has been made. But how much have we learned? We have a vaccine available, now for people of almost all ages. It’s an extraordinary achievement, but how effective is it in the end? And perhaps more importantly, what do .. MORE


Julia Galef on the Scout Mindset

Podcaster and author Julia Galef talks about her book The Scout Mindset with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Galef urges us to be more rational–to be open-minded about what we might discover about the world–rather than simply defend what we already believe, which she calls the soldier mindset. The conversation is a wide-ranging discussion of our biases and the .. MORE


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Adam Smith

Smithian Insights into Shrinking Global Inequality

This is part one of three-part series. Over the past two and a half centuries, the world has seen significant progress. People live longer, are richer and better educated, and enjoy greater political freedom. (I previously explored the role of cities as engines of such progress for the Liberty Fund’s AdamSmithWorks project). But has that .. MORE

Labor Market

Timmons on Occupational Licensing

  Occupational licensing today directly affects more than one in five workers in the United States—up from one in 20 workers in the 1950s. This is nearly twice the fraction of workers belonging to a union and more than 15 times the fraction of workers receiving the federal minimum wage. Although licensing is widespread in .. MORE


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The Coal Question

By William Stanley Jevons

I AM desirous of prefixing to the second edition of the following work a few explanations which may tend to prevent misapprehension of its purpose and conclusions.The expression “exhaustion of our coal mines,” states the subject in the briefest form, but is sure to convey erroneous notions to those who do not reflect upon the .. MORE

“Some Problems of Logical Method in Political Economy”

By Jacob Viner

The development of statistical data and technique, and the marked tendency toward the broadening of the scope of economic inquiry, have again made the problem of economic method an appropriate theme for discussion. This discussion cannot be left entirely to the logician, partly because he shows little interest in it and partly because there are .. MORE

Book Reviews and Suggested Readings

Speculations on Origins and Endings: An Essay on The Essential UCLA School of Economics

By Michael L. Davis

An Essay and Book Review of The Essential UCLA School of Economics, by David R. Henderson and Steven Globerman.1 When you think about dinosaurs—which you should; dinosaurs are awesome—you always end up with the same two questions: where did they come from and where did they go? Yes, all life evolves through a process that .. MORE

Volksgemeinschaft: Hitler as Revolutionary

By Stephen Davies

A Book Review of Hitler: The Politics of Seduction, by Rainer Zitelmann.1 One could truly say that there is no end to books about Adolph Hitler. Every year brings new works to add to the library already in print. This despite there being what most regard as a definitive biography in the shape of Ian .. MORE



Profile in Liberty: Friedrich A. Hayek

The twentieth century witnessed the unparalleled expansion of government power over the lives and livelihoods of individuals. Much of this was the result of two devastating world wars and totalitarian ideologies that directly challenged individual liberty and the free institutions of the open society. Other forms of expansion in the provision of social welfare and .. MORE


A Conversation with Anthony de Jasay

Anthony de Jasay, a regular columnist for Econlib, was one of the most original and independent thinkers on the relationship between the individual and the state. Through his published works, he challenged the reigning paradigms justifying modern democratic growth. His deeply challenging theoretical works include The State, an analysis that views the state as acting .. MORE

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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

Economic Regulation, International Economics


Throughout most of modern history, economic sanctions have preceded or accompanied war, often in the form of a naval blockade intended to weaken the enemy. Only when the horrors of World War I prompted President Woodrow Wilson to call for an alternative to armed conflict were economic sanctions seriously considered. (Wilson claimed that, by themselves, .. MORE

Economic Systems


[Editor’s note: this article was written in 1992.] To the outside world, the Soviet Union seemed little different in 1984 from what it had been for at least a decade. Except for a few skeptics, almost everyone agreed that the Soviet Union was the world’s second-largest economy and, if not the most powerful military force .. MORE

Basic Concepts, Economic Regulation, Government Policy


A monopoly is an enterprise that is the only seller of a good or service. In the absence of government intervention, a monopoly is free to set any price it chooses and will usually set the price that yields the largest possible profit. Just being a monopoly need not make an enterprise more profitable than .. MORE


It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

-Frederic Bastiat

We live together because social organization provides the efficient means of achieving our individual objectives and not because society offers us a means of arriving at some transcendental common bliss. Politics is a process of compromising our differences, and we differ as to desired collective objectives just as we do over baskets of ordinary consumption ...

-James M. Buchanan Full Quote >>

In the state of isolation, our wants exceed our productive capacities. In society, our productive capacities exceed our wants.

-Frederic Bastiat Full Quote >>