Economic History

How Anthony Downs’s Analysis Explains Rational Voters’ Preferences for Populism

In new research, Cyril Hédoin and Alexandre Chirat use the rational-choice theory of economist Anthony Downs to explain how populism rationally arises to challenge established institutions of liberal democracy.

When Foucault and the Austrian Liberals Agreed on the Impossibility of Political Rationality

Philosopher Michel Foucault is often associated with the political left. Austrian liberals, including Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, are generally associated with libertarians or the political right. However, all shared a doubt regarding the government’s ability to use statistics and data to regulate populations and markets, writes Parv Tyagi.

History Suggests Economists Need To Think Precisely About Populism

Economists have become increasingly interested in questions about populism over the last decade and particularly since Brexit and the election of American President Donald Trump. However, the definition of populism remains contested. Alan de Bromhead and Kevin O’Rourke argue that economists need a better understanding of populism’s history and its variegated goals when ascribing specific characteristics and behaviors to populists and their movements.

The Chicago Boys and the Chilean Neoliberal Project

In a new book, The Chile Project: The Story of the Chicago Boys and the Downfall of Neoliberalism, Sebastian Edwards details the history of neoliberalism in Chile over the past seventy years. The Chicago Boys—a group of Chilean economists trained at the University of Chicago through the U.S. State Department’s “Chile Project”—played a central role in neoliberalism’s ascent during General Augusto Pinochet’s rule. What follows is an excerpt from the book on University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman’s 1975 visit to Chile to meet with Pinochet and business leaders.

The Business of Colonialism

In his new book, Empire Incorporated, Philip Stern argues that corporations drove the global expansion of the British Empire rather than provide a supporting...

The Convergence of Antitrust Thought in the Late 1930s and Its Subsequent Collapse

In their research, published in History of Economic Ideas, Thierry Kirat and Frédéric Marty stress the importance of the late 1930s in the making of antitrust. The moment was exceptional for its consensus within the economic discipline and the implementation of voluntarist public enforcement, particularly under Thurman Arnold according to the prescriptions of the Second Chicago School, institutionalists, and the preferences of the Neo-Brandeis movement.

How the AT&T Case Can Inform Big Tech Breakups

Breaking up companies that antitrust regulators consider too dominant can be costly and might negatively impact innovation and consumer welfare. As economists and policymakers...

Industrial Policy From Engels to Eisenhower

Industrial policy was once so out of fashion that it was jokingly called “the policy that shall not be named.” Now it’s back in...

To Build an Equitable Economy, We Must Understand Capitalism’s Racist Heritage

American capitalism was built on racial exploitation, from the enslavement of Black people to institutionalized discrimination and its structural impact on our nation’s economic...

Resisting Regulatory Capture in the 1857 Financial Crisis

The historical origins of financial crises teaches us about changing attitudes toward government intervention into private markets. A lesson frequently taught by twentieth century economists...

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