Retired / Past Faculty and Staff
James Buchanan 1919 - 2013
James Buchanan was a strong proponent of the work ethic, never more so than in regards to himself, and he continued developing his ideas into his last days. In 2012, Dr. Buchanan lectured on “Institutional Sources of America's Fiscal Tragedy,” to the Summer Institute in Richmond, VA in June. The month of August brought Buchanan to Fairfax and the annual Outreach program with Buchanan presenting “Challenges to Public Choice.” “The Value of Money as a Constitutionalized Parameter,” was presented at a Liberty Fund Colloquium, "In Search of A Monetary Constitution Revisited," organized by Viktor Vanberg and Larry White, in Freiburg, Germany, in April.
The fiftieth anniversary since the publication of The Calculus of Consent was marked by several programs organized to honor Buchanan and Tullock, including sessions at the Public Choice Society meetings in Miami, FL, in March, and a Liberty Fund conference organized by Hartmut Kliemt in Charlottesville, VA, in September.
Buchanan's latest article was a coauthored piece with Yong J. Yoon entitled “Choosing for Others: A Neglected Element in the Theory of Collective Action.” An interview by John Long, newspaper correspondent and director of the Salem Museum, focused on Buchanan's wartime experiences and resulted in two pieces published in the Roanoke Times, “An Encounter to Savor” and “A Wise Man's Philosophy.” William Niskanen was honored in a memorial note for the Cato Institute, “ Niskanen and Discriminatory Democracy.”
In September 2012, Buchanan and long-time coauthor Yong Yoon outlined a book project for 2013 entitled Individualism and Political Disorder. Primarily comprised of papers published since the Collected Works series, this book will be in comparison and contrast to Hayek's Individualism and Economic Order. Additional, unpublished chapters will include an introduction and two others tentatively titled “Institutional Sources of American Fiscal Tragedy” and “The Tea Party Logic or Lunch-Club Dilemma.”
Betty Tillman 1927 - 2013
The center mourns the passing of Dr. Buchanan's long-time assistant Betty Tillman, who died on Oct 3, 2013.
Betty Hall Tillman worked for economist James Buchanan for 46 years. He hired her in July 1961 to work at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Political Economy at the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, VA. They later moved the center to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA and he took her with him. In 1983 they then moved the Center to GMU. Betty did not retire until 2007 at the age of 80. Betty loved the people she had met from all over the world over the years she was there - the Center never felt like a job to her.
Known as the "First Lady of Public Choice." or "Momma Betty," she enjoyed making the Center a family atmosphere and was an inspiration to everyone who met her.
Alex Tabarrok is working hard as the director of the Center for Study of Public Choice, the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center, and the director of research for The Independent Institute.
Dr. Tabarrok's major project this year was the launch of Marginal Revolution University (with Tyler Cowen). MRU opened for business in October 2012 with an online course in development economics. Lectures from that course have now been accessed by students all over the world. New courses on the Euro Crisis, Great Economists and Media Economics debuted in February of 2013, and more are on the way.
Dr. Tabarrok sees online education as a revolutionary force in education not just in the United States but all over the world. His article “Why Online Education Works” at CATO Unbound explains some of the advantages of online education.
His e-book Launching the Innovation Renaissance (TED books) received media attention from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, The Irish Times and many others. Op-eds based on the book by Dr. Tabarrok included “The No-Brainer Issue of the Year: Let High-Skill Immigrants Stay” (The Atlantic, Dec. 2011) and “The Innovation Nation vs. the Warfare-Welfare State” (The Atlantic, Jan. 2012). The Chronicle of Higher Education published “Tuning in to the Dropping Out” (March 2012), which generated a great deal of attention.
Dr. Tabarrok continued to travel widely – this year he was invited by Google to speak in Korea about innovation and while in Korea he also spoke at the World Knowledge Forum. He also spoke on patents and innovation at the Kauffman Foundation and on patents at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. among many other talks. His short animated video, End Software Patents, was widely viewed.
He has also published two academic papers: “Product Liability and Moral Hazard: Evidence from General Aviation” appeared in the Journal of Law and Economics and “Fugitives, Outlaws, and the Lessons of Safe Surrender” was published in Criminology and Public Policy. He also continued to write regularly at Marginal Revolution, which Columbia Journalism Review recently said was “A showcase of the wide-ranging, urbane tastes of economists Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, it's the go-to blog for polymaths and aspiring James Bond villains.”
Donald Boudreaux completed and published his book Hypocrites & Half-Wits: A Daily Dose of Sanity from Café Hayek (Free to Choose Press, 2012). The book features a collection of his one hundred best letters written to editors of major American publications, generally in response to an absurdity offered by a columnist or politician, or an eye-catching fact misleadingly taken out of context. The letters aimed to explain either basic principles of economics or a relevant fact of economic history. Café Hayek, the blog he continues to write with Dr. Russell Roberts, can be found at www.cafehayek.com. The blog he writes with Dr. Russell Roberts, Café Hayek, can be found at www.cafehayek.com.
Bryan Caplan received global media attention for his book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids (Basic Books, 2011). As that slowly diminished, he began working full-time on his third book, The Case Against Education. This multi-year project argues that the neglected signaling model of education explains most of what goes on in classrooms around the world – and that, contrary to popular and academic belief, the externalities of education are therefore largely negative. To a large extent, the “return to education” reflects rent-seeking rather than genuine creation of human capital. Dr. Caplan's book argues that government support for education primarily rests not on interest-group politics, but on popular neglect of the negative externalities of education.
Dr. Caplan also published the lead article in the Cato Journal 's special issue on immigration, and co-authored “A Search-Theoretic Critique of Georgism ” with Ph.D. student Zachary Gochenour. He also continues to blog for EconLog.
Tyler Cowen published his book An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies with Penguin/Dutton in April 2012. This book is Dr. Cowen's response to current fashionable thinking about food, and argues that “food snobbery” is hurting entrepreneurship and innovation.
He also has a new on-line education project, Marginal Revolution University, which focuses on economics, which co-created with CSPC colleague Dr. Alex Tabarrok.
Dr. Cowen and his co-author, Alex Tabarrok, also continued to work on revised editions of their macroeconomics and microeconomics textbooks Modern Principles: Macroeconomics and Modern Principles: Microeconomics.
In 2013, Dr. Cowen will be publishing Average is Over: Powering America Out of the Great Stagnation. This book will focus on how economic growth and technological progress will resume in America, the importance of artificial intelligence for our future, and the forthcoming evolution of labor markets.
He also continues to work on his manuscript on the case for a free society.
Dr. Cowen also wrote for numerous media outlets. He continued his monthly columns for The New York Times on economic policy, wrote for the Times on-line, and his weekly book review column for The New York Times Sunday Magazine. He also continued to write an economics of sports column at Grantland.com with Kevin Grier. He and Alex Tabarrok continued their daily weblog Marginal Revolution, which now has over fifty-three million unique visits and was named the top economics blog by the Wall Street Journal.
Robin Hanson completed a year and a half of a four year IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity) ACE (Aggregative Contingent Estimation) grant for the project DAGGRE (Decomposition-Based Elicitation & Aggregation). This year DAGGRE developed and fielded a new combinatorial market technology, allowing one to exactly calculate new prices and user assets when thousands of related variables are tied together. Previous systems have been limited to roughly fifteen tied variables. This new tech was published at the Uncertainty in AI conference this summer, one of the main computer science venues for presenting probability technology.
Robin also finally published his article proposing a new betting-market-based form of government in the Journal of Political Philosophy, the main journal in that field. In addition, he began in earnest to write a book on the social implications of mass adoption of the technology of whole brain emulation. He is now circulating a thirty thousand word draft among diverse kinds of experts for criticism. He expects to greatly revise the book in response to this criticism, and in order to make the book accessible and engaging to a wider audience.
Robin gave fourteen academic presentations, had nine media mentions, and wrote many dozens of posts at his blog Overcoming Bias.
Ron Heiner continued his work on the evolution of cooperation in one-shot prisoners' dilemmas. His analysis incorporates communication and signaling costs, and demonstrates how contingent cooperators can maintain their competitive advantage against always defecting players; even at the limit where their forecasting ability is no better than pure chance.
He is currently writing a book titled Cooperation in Prisoners' Dilemmas: the Critical Case of One-Shot Interactions (World Scientific Press, 2014). The book investigates the causal basis for analyzing behavior in strategic game theory settings. This includes using signals to forecast a partner's future decisions, showing that it rests on the same causal basis used to forecast events in the natural sciences — analogous to forecasting future weather conditions with barometer signals caused by current changes in atmospheric pressure that also causally influence tomorrow's weather.
Noel Johnson wrote three papers this year with his colleague at CSPC, Mark Koyama. “Standardizing the Fiscal State: Tax Farming as an Intermediate Institution in Early-Modern England and France” is on a first-round revise and resubmit at the Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization . They also wrote “Legal Centralization and the Birth of the Secular State,” which will be presented at the Association of Religion, Economics and Culture conference in Spring 2013. Finally, they just completed “From the Persecuting to the Protective State? Jewish Expulsions and Weather Shocks from 1100 to 1800.” This last paper was presented at King's College London, and in the Seminar in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Mason in early Spring 2013. Professor Johnson also wrote “Corruption as a Response to Regulation” with Jason Sorens, Steven Yamarik, and William Ruger.
In addition to journal articles, Dr. Johnson also published three book reviews. Two were in the Journal of Economic History. The first was a review of Jan Luiten van Zanden's The Long Road to the Industrial Revolution: The European Economy in a Global Perspective, 1000-1800 . The second was a review of Mark Dincecco's Political Transformations and Public Finances: Europe, 1650 – 1913 . Dr. Johnson also reviewed James Simpson's Creating Wine: The Emergence of a World Industry, 1840-1914 for EH.net Economic History Services.
During the year, Dr. Johnson also gave talks at Harvard University, the Southern Economics Association, and the OSHER Lifelong Learning Center.
In addition to his research, he enjoyed organizing the weekly Public Choice Seminar with his colleagues Drs. Mark Koyama and John Nye. Dr. Johnson also organizes and runs a bi-weekly Economic History Workshop that brings in scholars from around the greater Washington area to discuss their research. He is also an organizer of the Washington Area Economic History Seminar, which meets once a month and brings in prominent economic historians from around the world.
Garett Jones continued his research into the causes of economic growth. His paper with Hudson Institute economist Tim Kane demonstrating that nations with more U.S. troops have faster economic growth was published in Defence and Peace Economics, and his work on the strong relationship between national worker skill levels and productivity growth was published in Economic Systems
Further, Dr. Jones' first general equilibrium economic model – showing how human capital might have a strikingly large effect on national productivity while having only a small effect on individual wages – was accepted for publication in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization . In addition, a team research project with his Public Choice Center colleague Dr. John Nye into the links between prenatal testosterone and academic performance was published in Public Library of Science (PLoS) ONE. And finally, Dr. Jones published an essay in Econ Journal Watch on public choice-driven reasons for believing that the U.S. government is unlikely to default on its debt.
In 2012, Dr. Jones also published three book reviews for Barron's, spoke at a Chicago Ideas Week session along with former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee and former White House Chief of Staff William Daley, and appeared in a variety of print, radio, and television media. Finally, in 2012 he was a guest blogger at The Atlantic and at EconLog .
Dr. Jones is currently at work on a book under contract with Stanford University Press entitled Hive Mind: How Your Nation's IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own.
Mark Koyama published several papers during the year. In addition to the ones written with CSPC colleague Dr. Noel Johnson, Dr. Koyama's “Prosecution Associations in Industrial Revolution England” appeared in volume 41 of the Journal of Legal Studies. His paper “The Transformation of Labor Supply in the Pre-Industrial World” appeared in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Another paper, “The Law and Economics of Private Prosecutions in Industrial Revolution England,” is forthcoming in Public Choice. In addition to this, he wrote book reviews of Douglas Allen's The Institutional Revolution and Timur Kuran's The Long Divergence – the latter review is forthcoming in Public Choice while the former appeared in EH.Net.
In March, Dr. Koyama spent a week at the University of California, Irvine where he presented his work. On the same trip, he gave a paper at ASREC, which was held at Chapman University. He attended the Cliometrics Conference in Tucson Arizona as a discussant in May. In June he presented his paper “Taxes, Lawyers, and the Decline of Witch Trials in France” at the ICMA Centre at the University of Reading's Henley Business School in the UK.
In the Fall of 2012, Dr. Koyama was invited to join the Editor Board for the journal Economic Affairs published by the IEA in London. In the Fall of 2012 he became Job Market Placement Officer for the PhD program in Economics.
David Levy was named a Distinguished Fellow of the History of Economics Society at the 2012 Annual Meeting. This is the award the Society gives for a lifetime of work in history of economics. The book Levy and his long-time co-author Sandra Peart have been working on since their award-winning Vanity of the Philosopher now exists in draft form. One of the central chapters “The Ethics Problem: Solving the Collective Action Problem of Economic Expertise” was presented at the 2013 Allied Social Sciences Association meetings in San Diego. We offer a revival of the view of governance developed by Frank Knight and presupposed by John Rawls.
Dr. Levy also published 2 papers with co-author Sandra Peart : “If Germs Could Sponsor Research” in Advances in Austrian Economics and “Tullock on MotivatedInquiry: Expert-Induced Uncertainty Disguised as Risk” in Public Choice . He also published “Economic Liberals as Quasi-Public Intellectuals: The Democratic Dimension” with Margaret Albert and Sandra J. Peart in Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology.
John Nye continued his joint work with scholars at GMU, HSE-Moscow, and the University of the Philippines on the biological correlates of student performance. One paper from this project – “2D:4D Asymmetry and Academic Performance: Evidence from Moscow and Manila” with Grigory Androuschak, Desirée Desierto, Garett Jones, and Maria Yudkevich – was accepted and published in PLoS ONE. He has several related papers based on multiple surveys of students in Moscow and Manila are in draft form or under review. Dr. Nye also continued to serve over the summer as a Research Director at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Another paper on the role of market primes in promoting trust – “The causal effect of market participation on trust: An experimental investigation using randomized control” with Omar Al- Ubaydli, Dan Houser, Maria Pia Paganelli, and Sophie Pan – was also accepted by PLoS ONE and will appear in 2013.
In April of 2012, Dr. Nye spoke at a roundtable on the Philippine economy organized by the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, DC. In the summer of 2012, Dr. Nye went to Manila where he worked with the World Bank and the Department of Agrarian Reform on issues concerning Philippine development. He helped launch the Angara Centre for Law and Economics in Manila, and organized an inaugural conference in August which brought Nye and Dr. Tyler Cowen to Manila as featured speakers on growth and development. Drs. Nye and Cowen were prominently featured in the Philippine press and both gave an interview on national television. In December of 2012, Dr. Nye also worked with the Angara Centre and the World Bank to organize a round table in Manila featuring James Robinson of Harvard discussing his book with Daron Acemoglu , Why Nations Fail . That same month, Dr. Nye also lectured at the Workshop on Institutional Economics of the Ronald Coase Institute in Santiago, Chile .
Dr. Nye has received a contract for a volume – Innovation, Industrialization, and Institutions – to be edited jointly with Lynne Kiesling and Avner Greif for Princeton University Press; the book is scheduled for publication in 2013.
Thomas Stratmann worked on several projects in the field of experimental public choice. In one of his experimental public choice projects, he is developing an answer to the long-standing puzzle in economics and political science of why people vote, given that voting is costly and the likelihood of affecting the outcome of the election is small. Drs. Stratmann and Houser have written a forthcoming paper in Public Choice , which shows how Gordon Tullock influenced the current thinking in experimental economics.
Further, Dr. Stratmann published an article in the Journal of Law and Economics which shows the effectiveness of traffic law enforcement on the reduction in car accidents. He continues his work in other areas of applied microeconomics. One recent example of his successful work with GMU graduate students is an article published in the highly ranked Journal of Financial Markets.
Yong Yoon continued to work on his two major research projects in 2012. One was on the Extent of Markets, a joint project with James M. Buchanan, and the other was on Collective Action, also a joint project with Dr. Buchanan. The second project includes a book project. Drs. Buchanan and Yoon proposed to publish a book with the title Individualism and Political Disorder. The title suggests the book's theme that is in contrast and comparison to Hayek's theme and title of his book, Individualism and Economic Order. The eleven papers to appear as chapters were written by Dr. Buchanan after the publication of his Collected Works volumes, with and without co-authorship with Dr. Yoon. In addition to the listed published papers, they planned to add three unpublished papers. One is the introductory chapter. The others are “Institutional Sources of American Fiscal Tragedy” and “The Cost of Collectivization, Per Se.” Dr. Yoon had several activities related to the second project on Collective Action. He and Dr. Buchanan published a paper entitled “Choosing for Others: A Neglected Element in the Theory of Collective Action” in Public Choice.
Dr. Yoon presented a related paper, “How to Choose for Others” at the Korean Economic Association meetings in Seoul in June, 2012. In this paper, he developed mathematical models in which alternatives voters choose are vectors. The paper discusses results that are not discussed in standard voting models.
He also published “An Analogy: Symmetric Tragedies and The Calculus of Consent” in Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, forthcoming 2013. In this paper, he analyzes the logical elements for collective decision making in The Calculus of Consent and “Symmetric Tragedies: Commons and Anti-commons” (Buchanan and Yoon), Journal of Law and Economics, April 2000 XLIII (1) pp. 1-13.
Drs. Buchanan and Yoon also worked on the draft paper, “The Cost of Collectivization, Per Se,” which Yoon plans to present at the 2013 Public Choice meetings in New Orleans.
Jo Ann Burgess began work for a major book project for Professors Buchanan and Yoon titled Individualism and Political Disorder , thematically related and contrasted to Hayek's Individualism and Economic Order. Three major projects were concluded in 2012: celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy by James M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock ; the Public Choice Society's second world congress; and the Otto A. “Toby” Davis Memorial Lecture, “An Analytical Theory of Just Market Exchange,” coauthored by Michael C . Munger and Ricardo Andrés Guzmán.
In her daily duties, Jo Ann is the Archivist/Librarian of the Buchanan House collection of Buchanan's papers, books and memorabilia. In addition, she plays an important role as the Center's Visiting Scholar Facilitator in administering and coordinating with the Office of International Programs and Services. When the occasion warrants, she is also the center's videographer.
She would also like to take this time to thank Cambridge, Liberty Fund, and Springer for their generous contributions at the conclusion of the public choice society meetings to our small, but select, center library.
Lisa Hill-Corley assists with the support of the main resident faculty at Carow Hall with administrative, visitor and office manager tasks. She also coordinates the main budget and grants for Center, and maintains the Center website. In addition, Lisa took on the new job of coordinating graduate funding for all of the Economics Department.
Lisa also coordinated another successful Outreach Conference at Mason Inn, which welcomed thirty-five participants from all over the country and overseas. Lisa is now a Mason alumnus—she completed her work for a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing and graduated in December 2012.
Jane Perry shares duties of providing daily administrative support to resident Carow Hall faculty, as well as for the daily admin operations and coordination of Carow Hall. She enjoys welcoming and assisting faculty, students, visiting scholars, and other visitors at the Center for Study of Public Choice.
Jane serves as the staff administrative and logistical coordinator for each of the weekly Public Choice Seminar presentations. Additionally, Jane's proofreading skills are increasingly in demand for numerous projects, including a number of professional journal articles authored by Center faculty.
As always, she enjoys and appreciates working with talented admin team colleagues Lisa Hill-Corley, Jo Ann Burgess, Dana Vogel, and Mary Jackson on various projects and events throughout the year.
Retired Faculty and Staff
On November 21, 2008, the Center joined the George Mason Law School in honoring the distinguished career of Gordon Tullock with a retirement celebration at the campus in Arlington. The event was attended by Center faculty, staff and students, GMU president Alan Merten, and the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Jack Censer.
With his retirement, Gordon moved from being a George Mason Law professor and became a Professor Emeritus of Law. He moved to Tucson, Arizona with his sister and brother-in-law.