• Urbanity

    Cities are dynamic centers of exchange, innovation, and economic growth. They provide an environment where many diverse kinds of people come together to trade and interact. Perhaps the best illustration of these benefits is Silicon Valley, where geographical proximity between entrepreneurs famously set the stage for the creation of new industries.

    In recent decades, however, land-use regulations have limited urban development – and threatened the income mobility and rising standards of living that come with it. The Urbanity project address these challenges. It is developing land-use reform proposals that can restore America’s cities as places of entrepreneurship and economic growth.

  • Trade and Immigration

    Globalization is a bottom-up phenomenon. It’s what happens when people in America and around the world are left free by their governments to do business with one another. Government “protection” through trade barriers, by contrast, is another form of central planning. It stifles competition and inflates prices at the expense of consumers and downstream producers.

    The Trade and Immigration project seeks to promote the advantages of expanding freedom to trade, invest, and move across international borders. Such globalization will raise the standard of living of the broad mass of individuals rather than protect the market share of certain producers.

  • The Fourth Branch

    If the administrative state is here to stay, how should classical liberals engage with it? First, they must understand how its agencies and regulatory bodies operate. And second, they must develop alternative forms of governance based on individuals’ freedom to choose and self-govern.

    These are the goals of the Fourth Branch project. It recognizes that we need a new approach to reforming the administrative state (or “fourth branch of government”) – one that focuses on how to get things done in a more timely, efficient, adaptive fashion. In essence, government itself must become more entrepreneurial.

  • Safety Net

    The growth in safety net and entitlement programs in the United States accounts in large part for the fiscal challenges facing federal and state governments. These programs may also create incentives for working-age beneficiaries to reduce work efforts and lead to decreased economic mobility.

    The Safety Net project shows how addressing barriers to employment opportunities, welfare dependency, and labor market regulations can encourage individuals to rejoin the workforce, constrain government spending, and improve the nation’s fiscal condition.

  • Policy Analytics

    Quantification can lead to a better understanding of the causes and consequences of particular policies – which in turn can lead to better policy decisions. This includes analyzing specific aspects of governance such as the regulatory process that traditionally have been hard to measure.

    The Policy Analytics project applies policy analytics to policy text. The process begins with quantification, proceeds to analysis, and ultimately results in scientific advances. For example, it can deliver fundamental insights on how regulation and regulatory trends affect innovation and economic growth.

  • Open Health

    The medical industry relies heavily on government rules, planning, regulations, and institutions. This diminishes the benefits that come from proven market-principles. When allowed to function, markets can provide patients with superior products and services – what they need, when they need it, and at a price they can afford.

    The Open Health project seeks to demonstrate how market-function can deliver these outcomes. Central to its efforts is promoting an environment in healthcare where technology innovators and entrepreneurs have the same freedom to develop products as they do in other high-tech industries.

  • Monetary Policy

    How can monetary policy establish economic stability and an environment in which individuals can prosper and thrive?

    The current US monetary system does not do so. Failure to reform it can make the economy more vulnerable if and when the next economic crisis hits. This project proposes a monetary system that targets nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rather than inflation and relies more on the “wisdom of crowds” than the discretion of fallible central bankers. A reformed system would be rules-based, more transparent, more accountable, and better utilize market signals.

  • Innovation and Governance

    The Mercatus Center’s program on Innovation and Governance outlines a classical liberal approach to the reform of the administrative state.

    Recognizing that the administrative state is not a “transitory phenomenon,” the program does not focus on idealized end-states. Rather, it seeks to (a) understand the processes and institutional design of regulatory bodies; and (b) investigate the effectiveness of alternative governance solutions and institutional arrangements.


  • Financial Regulations

    Economic growth, development, and social mobility – these things all depend on an effective financial system. That means a financial system that is always seeking to be more competitive, innovative, and inclusive. This would enable consumers to obtain the services they need, in the manner that is driven by their preferences rather than by the constraints imposed by a government regulator.

  • Equity Initiative

    Government favoritism of particular firms, industries, and occupations has contributed to persistently poor economic performance. This involves government efforts to “tilt the playing field” toward entrenched interests through targeted economic development incentives. It also involves creation of barriers to entry that keep small businesses and new risk takers from competing with better-connected enterprises.

    The Equity Initiative project is working for institutional reforms that can combat government favoritism. Its goal is a society where government seeks to treat all players in an economy equally. This will help develop a healthier and more dynamic economy and restore faith in the institutions of a free society.

  • Entrepreneuralism and Innovation

    Innovation can drive economic growth, human flourishing, and long-term progress and prosperity. For this to happen, the policy culture must encourage continuous acts of entrepreneurialism and “creative destruction.” In short, it must embrace the notion of permissionless innovation.

    Regulators often respond to successful new technologies and business models with anti-market rhetoric and restrictive regulations. This removes choice and convenience from customers. Permissionless innovation holds that experimentation with new products and services should generally be permitted by default.

  • Economic Institutions and Growth
    Why do some economies thrive and others fail? The “rules of the game” provide answers to the question. These are the policies and institutions that protect property rights, the equitable treatment of individuals and businesses within an economy, fiscal restraint, and limited barriers to the movement of goods and people. The Mercatus Center’s program on Economic Institutions and Growth examines these vitally important subjects.