Competition for Antitrust: The National Civic Federation and the Founding of the FTC

February 3, 2015

Regulation by the state can benefit or harm any business in society. While the market provides for consumers rather than special interests, rationally acting interests will be incentivized to use political means to capture rents, particularly if public clamor for regulation exists. The formation of the Federal Trade Commission, rather than providing a check on business interests, follows the pattern of regulatory capture. The National Civic Federation, a group with strong business interest ties, was crucial to ensuring this outcome at the commission’s founding.

The Servants of Obama's Machinery: F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom Revisited?--A Reply

September, 2012

This paper replies to “The Servants of Obama's Machinery,” which is a criticism of Boettke's interpretation of Hayek's ideas in The Road to Serfdom. We find the authors raise many interesting questions for both political economy and history of thought but ultimately are unconvincing in their critique. In addition to responding to their overall critique, we also respond to their smaller points on Hayek and Arrow, Public Choice, and the historical problems they raise. Despite our disagreement we believe this is a fruitful line of discussion and deserves to be looked into further both theoretically and empirically.

FInd article at Palgrave Macmillan

Political Economy and the Science of Association

March, 2014

We argue that in order to answer the challenges that James Buchanan put to contemporary political economists, a reconstruction of public choice theory building on the work of Buchanan, F.A. Hayek and Vincent Ostrom must take place. Absent such a reconstruction, and the significant challenges that Buchanan raised will continue to go unmet.

War and Liberty

October 1, 2011

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Leonard E. Read's Conscience on the Battlefield and F. A. ‘Baldy’ Harper's In Search of Peace. This article reviews the main themes of these anti-war pamphlets and argues that the ideas contained within are as important and relevant today as they were 60 years ago.

Find the article at Wiley Online Library.

Classical Political Economy

March 18, 2010

"Classical Political Economy" is a chapter in the Encyclopedia of Political Theory, edited by Mark Bevir.

Purchase the 3 volumes at

The Context of Context

July 1, 2010

F. A. Hayek's contribution to economic science is broadly remembered as relating to the “use of knowledge in society” but his contribution to economics of knowledge are often summarized differently. This paper emphasizes the contextual nature of the knowledge. Hayek says the market economy is capable of eliciting and utilizing in the process of coordinating economic activities. There is, however, a double meaning of context that is explored in this article. Hayek developed his argument about the use of knowledge in the context of the socialist calculation debate, and the aspect of knowledge he came to focus on was the contextual nature of knowledge in human action in markets, politics, law, and society. This paper traces out the development of Hayek's focus on the epistemic foundations of the complex coordination in an advanced market economy and shows that his critique of classical and market socialism led to a refined, subtle approach to understanding spontaneous order. Furthermore, it is precisely Hayek's focus on the role of institutions in creating the conditions for the utilization and transference of knowledge through the price system that continues to shape the progressive research programs in economic science and public policy analysis that is his legacy.

Read the article at Emerald Insight.

Been There Done that: The Political Economy of Déjà Vu

February, 2011

In the midst of the current financial crisis the economics profession has seen a monumental resurrection of Keynesian ideas. The debate, which Keynes started back in the 1930s, is being picked up again, not where it left off, but in exactly the same place it started. While Keynesian theories were carefully critiqued by new classical economists and in the most part discarded by the profession, Keynesian models and prescriptions became a staple of politics and macroeconomic textbooks. Obviously, neither side of the debate articulated their views adequately and on the same terms. If the economics profession is going to escape this perpetual déjà vu of cycling through the same debate every time an economic crisis emerges, the profession must discard entrenched ideologies and turn back to the sound but creative application of basic economics.

Read the full article at

Citation (Chicago Style)

Boettke, Peter J., Smith, Daniel J. and Snow, Nicholas A., Been There Done that: The Political Economy of Déjà Vu (February 19, 2011). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 11-13.