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October 2021

Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 39, Issue 4

Contemporary Economic Policy
Does Constitutional Entrenchment Matter for Economic Freedom
Justin Callais and Andrew Young
The authors study how entrenchment - the extent to which constitutions are more costly to change than ordinary policies and institutions - affects levels of economic freedom. Even though they report no significant effects on overall freedom, they find some evidence that entrenchment does lead to smaller government size, more regulation, and weaker property rights.

August 2021

Journal of Institutional Economics 
Laissez les Bons Temps rouler? The Persistent Effect French Civil Law Has on Corruption, Institutions, and Incomes in Louisiana
Justin Callais
The author seeks to offer a clearer explanation for why Louisiana sets itself apart from other states in its politically corrupt environment. He argues that the underlying cause is the historical influence in French civil law, despite occurring over 200 years ago, as it leads to corruption through regulation and centralization of decision-making.

Journal of Institutional Economics, Vol. 17, Issue 4

July 2021

Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 88, Issue 1

Southern Economic Journal
The Legacy of Representation in Medieval Europe for Incomes and Institutions Today
Jamie Bologna Pavlik and Andrew Young
The authors explore why some governments can credibly commit to the rule of law and protection of property rights. They find that experiences with representative assemblies in medieval/early modern Europe is positively correlated with current income levels, a measure of the rule of law and property rights, and the Polity IV index that emphasizes constraints on the executive.

June 2021

Small Business Economics
Evaluating the Effects of Small Business Administration Lending on Growth
Matthew Higgins, Donald Lacombe, Briana Stenardr, and Andrew Young
The authors examine the relationship between SBA lending and local economic growth using a spatial econometric framework and U.S. county-level data. They find evidence that a county's SBA lending per capita is associated with direct negative effects on its income growth and indirect negative effects on the growth rates of neighboring counties. 

Small Business Economics, Vol. 57, Issue 1


The Journal of Developing Areas, Vol. 55, Issue 3

The Journal of Developing Areas
Institutional Quality and Development: On the Role of Informality
Justin Callais, Israt Jahan, and Jamie Bologna Pavlik
The authors argue that the ambiguity of the theoretical effects of the informal sector on development are due to its impacts are conditional on both the size of the locale and the existing institutional environment. They analyze the relationship between formal institutions, informality, and development in 5,505 Brazilian municipalities. When including the conditionality of population size, the authors find that formal institutions and informal production tend to be substitutable in areas with large populations, and complementary in small municipalities.


The Review of Austrian Economics 
Forced Savings and Political Malinvestment: An Application of Steve Horwitz's Microfoundations and Microeconomic
Bryan P. Cutsinger
the author applies the framework of the Austrian business cycle theory from Steven Horowitz's book to the Confederate monetary experience during the U.S. Civil War. Even though there was an excess supply of money, he argues, there is no evidence that it created a credit boom. However, while it is not malinvestment, the author finds evidence of forced savings to allocate credit in the South, which is not consistent with a sustainable capital structure.

The Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 34, Issue 2

May 2021

The Cost of Free Stuff: Your Freedom!

The Cost of Free Stuff: Your Freedom! 
Edited by Rafael Acevedo
"Economists have long known that "there is no such thing as a free lunch”, but politicians love promising free stuff anyway.  Rafael Acevedo and the other authors of The Cost of Free Stuff superbly show the high costs of many of these promises and that ultimately, these promises can also cost you your freedom." - Benjamin Powell, FMI Executive Director

April 2021

Southern Economic Journal

Symposium: The Political Economy of the COVID‐19 Pandemic
Peter Boettke and Benjamin Powell
The authors introduce a symposium, which seeks to analyze the political economy and institutional environments that lead to governmental policy responses, all over the world, that are inconsistent with recommendations from standard welfare economics.

The Federal Reserve's Response to the COVID‐19 Contraction: An Initial Appraisal
Nicolás Cachanosky, Bryan P. Cutsinger, Thomas L. Hogan, William J. Luther, and Alexander W. Salter
The authors summarize and evaluate the Fed's monetary and emergency lending policies through the end of 2020. They credit the Fed with promoting monetary stability while maintaining it could have achieved something approximating monetary stability without employing its emergency lending facilities. The authors argue some of its facilities were unwarranted and unwise as they primarily intended to allocate credit blurring the line between monetary and fiscal policy. 

Read all the Symposium papers in the Southern Economic Journal, Volume 87, Issue 4.

Southern Economic Journal, Volume 87, Issue 4


Exploration in Economic History, Volume 80, April 2021

Explorations in Economic History
The Cuban Revolution and Infant Mortality: A Synthetic Control Approach
Vincent Geloso and Jamie Bologna Pavlik
The authors employ a synthetic control method to analyze how much of the reduction in infant mortality, if any, can be attributed to the Castro's regime. They find that the infant mortality increased in the first decade of the regime, but reverted after the introduction of Soviet subsidies. However, after a second run of synthetic control test concerning the collapse of the Soviet Union, the authors find that the subsidies played no important role in determining health outcomes.


Contemporary Economic Policy 
Economic Freedom and the Economic Consequences of the 1918 Pandemic
Jamie Bologna Pavlik and Vincent Geloso
The authors analyze the 1918 pandemic and the levels of economic freedom. They argue that higher levels of economic freedom mitigated the pandemic's effect as it meant greater ability to adjust shocks by reducing frictions in the reallocation of resources and the reorganization of economic activity.

Contemporary Economic Policy, Volume 39, Issue 2


Journal of Institutional Economics, Volume 17, Issue 2

Journal of Institutional Economics
The Last Guardian of the Throne: The Regional Army in the Late Qing Dynasty
Linan Peng
The author argues that the developed organizational structure of the Xiang Army played a central role in its rise during the Qing Dynasty. Unlike the imperial arm of the central government, the Xiang Army overcame problems like poor recruitment and training soldiers, lack of incentives of fight in battles, and coordination failure.

March 2021

Estudios Libertarios
Desocialization of Taxes: A Taxation System Proposal for Venezuela
Rafael Acevedo, Luis Cirocco, and María Lorca-Susino
The authors argue that the most important challenge for a change in the economic, fiscal, and political system of Venezuela is to limit the State and any possibilities to intervene the natural flow of the free market. Towards this purpose, the authors propose a fiscal reform based on municipalization of the taxation structure, simplification by elimination, and imitation of the market.

Estudios Libertarios, Vol. 3


International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Volume 34, Issue 1

International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society
Carolingians at the Doorstep? The Maturing Limited Access Order of Early Medieval Europe
Andrew Young
The author argues the Carolingians moved Western Europe to the doorstep of an open-access society, as defined by North et al. (2009), through their large-scale distributions of confiscated/conquered lands to loyal vassals, cultivation of bonds with the Church, and the regularization of assemblies. Furthermore, the Carolingians introduced governance innovations that promoted rule of law for elites and the centralization and consolidation of violence.


Constitutional Political Economy 
The Political Economy of Feudalism in Medieval Europe
Andrew Young
The author argues that the environment of polycentric sovereignty promoted constitutional bargaining in the direction of better governance, and specifically towards greater liberty.

Constitutional Political Economy, Volume 32


Journal of Comparative Economics, Volume 49, Issue 1

Journal of Comparative Economics
The Washington Consensus Works: Causal Effects of Reform, 1970-2015
Kevin Grier and Robin Grier
The authors argue that policy reform along the lines suggested by the Washington Consensus may have been prematurely discredited and, in fact, are worth considering for countries wishing to accelerate growth rates.


Advances in Decision Sciences
Rational Irrationality: A Two Stage Decision Making Model
Rafael Acevedo, Elvis Aponte, Pedro Harmath, and Jose U. Mora
The authors propose a two-stage decision making model that includes cognitive and affective systems as well as individualistic human factor and a stochastic shock. The latter being the fundamental elements that define the rational irrationality when traditional economic theory fails to explain individuals' choices.

Advances in Decision Sciences

February 2021

Applied Economics Letters, Volume 28, Issue 4

Applied Economics Letters
Household Responses to Escalating Violence in Mexico
Luisa Blanco, Robin Grier, Kevin Grier, and Daniel Hicks
The authors show significant welfare losses in both spending changes and behavioral adjustment that should be considered from the Mexican drug war.


Journal of Institutional Economics
The Fundamental Coase of Development: Property Rights Foundations of the Effective State
Ennio Piano and Alexander Salter
The authors analyze how societies can build protective and productive states while avoiding predatory states. They identify political property rights and jurisdictional competition as two important mechanisms that drive political and economic development.

Journal of Institutional Economics, Volume 17, Issue 1

January 2021

European Journal of Political Economy, Volume 66, January 2021

European Journal of Political Economy
What Constitutes a Constitutional Amendment Culture?
Danko Tarabar and Andrew Young
The authors analyze constitutional episodes from 1960-2014 to estimate the relationship between amendment rates and Hofstede cultural indices. They found that greater individualism and lower uncertainty avoidance are associated with higher amendment rates.


Southern Economic Journal
Promise, Trust, and Betrayal: Costs of Breaching an Implicit Contract
Daniel Levy and Andrew Young
The authors study the Coca-Cola implicit contract and the costs of breaching their promise of constant quality. Levy and Young suggest that "voice" can be, in some cases, more important than "exit" in disciplining firm behavior.

Southern Economic Journal, Volume 87, Issue 3


The Economist

The Economist reviews Wretched Refuse? The Political Economy of Immigration and Institutions, a new Cambridge University Press book publication from Benjamin Powell and Alex Nowrasteh.

"Wretched Refuse?" is a denser book, full of charts and regression analysis. It is also highly original, and takes a chainsaw to the most intellectually respectable case against immigration"
Read the whole article here.

December 2020

Douglas Irwin, a leading scholar on the history of international trade and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, writes in his recent article, "The Washington Consensus Stands Test of Time Better than Populist Policies," about the importance of the findings in Kevin Grier and Robin Grier's research, "The Washington Consensus Works: Causal Effects of Reform, 1970-2015" forthcoming in the Journal of Comparative Economics. In short, economic freedom works and economic populism doesn't.

Peterson Institute for International Economics


TTU FMI Double T Logo

Visiting Scholars

Nicolas Cachanosky, Associate Professor of Economics, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Nicolás Cachanosky (Associate Professor of Economics at Metropolitan State University of Denver) is visiting the Institute throughout fall 2021 as an FMI Visiting Scholar.

Research Workshop

October 22, 2021 - "Market Microstructure and Informational Efficiency" - Brian Albrecht, Assistant Professor of Economics at Kennesaw State University

The schedule of upcoming workshops is published here: Research Workshop.

Liberal Thought and Freedom in Latin America: A Discussion Colloquium and Research Workshop

The Free Market Institute (FMI) at Texas Tech University, in partnership with Liberty Fund, Inc., invited papers for a research program focused on the theme of Liberal Thought and Freedom in Latin America. Authors of the invited submissions visited Texas Tech University to participate in a working research conference from September 17-18, 2021. 

The program also featured a public presentation on Thursday, September 16, 2021 from The Wall Street Journal "Americas" opinion columnist Mary O'Grady.

Mary O'Grady, Opinion Columnist, The Wall Street Journal

More information about this program is available here: Liberal Thought and Freedom in Latin America.