Research Projects

The Mercatus Center's F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics encourages and supports original research that explores pressing issues in political economy. Specifically, research on the topics of Community & CrisisFreedom & Flourishing, and Work & Dependency.

Community and Crisis

The Community & Crisis research group examines how communities experience, respond to, and can become resilient toward crisis.

This project brings together and hopes to build on the work by Hayek Program scholars on the challenges associated with disaster relief and recovery; the economic effects of extended wars and post-conflict societal reconstruction; the effectiveness of humanitarian aid; and, the political and social responses to severe economic downturns. The Hayek Program has been pursuing this area of research for over a decade, including the Gulf Coast Recovery Project after Hurricane Katrina (see an overview of the project and list of research) and Enterprise Africa that examined progresses and setbacks of economic development.

Selected Works

Boettke, Peter J. Why Perestroika Failed: The Politics and Economics of Socialist Transformation. London: Routledge: 1993.

Coyne, Christopher J. After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008.

Boettke, Peter J. "What Happened to Efficient Markets?" The Independent Review, 14(3): 363-376, 2010.

Storr, Virgil Henry and Stefanie Haeffele-Balch. "Post-disaster Community Recovery in Heterogenous, Loosely Connected Communities." Review of Social Economy, 70(3): 295-314, 2012.

Storr, Virgil Henry, Stefanie Haeffele-Balch, and Laura E. Grube. Community Revival in the Wake of Disaster: Lessons in Local Entrepreneurship. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Aligica, Paul Dragos. Institutional Diversity and Political Economy: The Ostroms and BeyondOxford: Oxford University Press, 2014

Freedom and Flourishing

The Freedom & Flourishing research group examines how the notions of freedom and liberalism shape and are impacted by the cultural, economic, political, and social institutional contexts of communities.

This project builds on the research of Hayek Program scholars regarding the market as a social space, how social norms and values are formed in the process of interacting with others, the cultural elements necessary for a liberal and flourishing society, how social change can take place in order to provide freedom to previously oppressed or restricted groups, and how the restrictions on freedom impact society.

Selected Works

Cowen, Tyler. In Praise of Commercial Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998.

Kukathas, Chandran. The Liberal Archipelago: A Theory of Discovery and Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

McCloskey, Deirdre N. The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Storr, Virgil Henry. "The Market as a Social Space: On the Meaningful Extraeconomic Conversations that Can Occur in Markets." Review of Austrian Economics, 21(2-3): 135-150, 2008.

Badhwar, Neera. Well-Being: Happiness in a Worthwhile Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Lemke, Jayme S. "Interjurisdictional Competition and the Married Women's Property Acts." Public Choice, 166(3-4): 291-313, 2016.

Coyne, Christopher J. and Abigail R. Hall. Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018.

Work and Dependency

The Work & Dependency research group examines the relationship and tensions between a culture of work, self-reliance, and self-governance and the role of government programs.

This project will build on the work by Hayek Program scholars on self-governance as well as on the failures and unintended consequences of government programs. This project will explore the importance of self-governance and the challenge of dependency; how the balance between work, social associations, and government programs changed over time in the United States, and how this change manifests in levels of individual responsibility and/or social dependency among the citizenry; and how a more active state erodes the common conventions of community interdependence necessary to sustain a free society.

Selected Works

Wagner, Richard E. To Promote the General Welfare. San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1989.

Schmidtz, David and Robert E. Goodin. Social Welfare and Individual Responsibilities: For and Against. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Boettke, Peter J. "Is the Only Form of 'Reasonable Regulation' Self-Regulation?: Lessons from Lin Ostrom on Regulating the Commons and Cultivating Citizens." Public Choice, 143(3-4): 289-291, 2010.

Chamlee-Wright, Emily and Virgil Henry Storr. "Expectations of Government's Response to Disaster." Public Choice, 144(1): 253-274, 2010.

White, Lawrence H. The Clash of Economic Ideas: The Great Policy Debates and Experiments of the Last Hundred YearsCambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Wagner, Richard E. "Welfare Economics and Second-Best Theory: Filling Imaginary Economic Boxes." Cato Journal, 35(1): 133-146, 2016.

Wagner, Richard E. Politics as a Peculiar Business: Insights from a Theory of Entangled Political EconomyNorthampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2016.

These research projects are partially funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation on “Work, Self- governance, and the Challenge of Unsustainable Dependency.” The grant is for a three-year project to explore the themes of work and self-governance as well as the root causes and consequences of the modern shift toward a greater reliance on government efforts to solve collective challenges.