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Mercantilism
By Laura LaHaye
Mercantilism is economic nationalism for the purpose of building a wealthy and powerful state. Adam Smith coined the term “mercantile system” to describe the system of political economy that sought to enrich the country by restraining imports and encouraging exports. This system dominated Western European economic ...
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Industrial Policy
By Richard McKenzie
National industrial policy is a rubric for a broad range of proposed economic reforms that emerged as a unified political program in the early eighties. Had they been passed, these reforms would have given government officials additional authority, as well as the necessary fiscal and regulatory powers, to directly alte...
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OF INTEREST TODAY
Mercantilism Lives
Charles L. Hooper
A Brief History of International Trade Policy
Douglas A. Irwin
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Monetary Policy
James Tobin
1955 -
Arnold Kling
1922 - 2014
Kimberly Ann Elliott and Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Barbara Oegg
Avinash Dixit and Barry Nalebuff
John J. Seater
Tyler Cowen
1772 - 1823
1835 - 1882
BASIC CONCEPTS
Price Controls
By Hugh Rockoff
Governments have been trying to set maximum or minimum prices since ancient times. The Old Testament prohibited interest on loans to fellow Israelites; medieval governments fixed the maximum price of bread; and in recent years, governments in the United States have fixed the price of gasoline, the rent on apartments in...
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ECONOMIC SYSTEMS
Ethics and Economics
By Stephen R. C. Hicks
Is capitalism good? Should we admire hard workers who are motivated to make large profits? Does competition bring out the best in people? These questions juxtapose practices and institutions that economists study (capitalism, profits, competition) with concepts that ethicists use (good, admirable, best). Eth...
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ECONOMIC REGULATION
Health Insurance
By John C. Goodman
The Birth of the “Blues” In the 1930s and 1940s, a competitive market for health insurance developed in many places in the United States. Typically, premiums tended to reflect risks, and insurers aggressively monitored claims to keep costs down and prevent abuses. Following World War II, however, the market ch...
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ECONOMIC REGULATION
OPEC
By Benjamin Zycher
Few observers and even few experts remember that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was created in response to the 1959 imposition of import quotas on crude oil and refined products by the United States. In 1959, the U.S. government established the Mandatory Oil Import Quota program (MOIP), which ...
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BASIC CONCEPTS
Unintended Consequences
By Rob Norton
The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people—and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended. Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries; for just as long, politicians and popular opinion have larg...
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1ST EDITION
Occupational Licensing
By S. David Young
Most Americans know that practicing medicine without a license is against the law. They also know that lawyers and dentists must have the state's approval before they can ply their trades. Few Americans, however, would guess that in some states falconers, ferret breeders, and palm readers are also subject to government...
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1ST EDITION
Gross Domestic Product
By Lincoln Anderson
Gross domestic product, the official measure of total output of goods and services in the U.S. economy, represents the capstone and grand summary of the world's best system of economic statistics. The federal government organizes millions of pieces of monthly, quarterly, and annual data from government agencies, compan...
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GUIDES
Ten Key Ideas: Opening the Door to the Economic Way of Thinking
Introduction Here are ten fundamental ideas to help you explore and understand the world around us using the economic way of thinking. I've written an essay on each idea and listed some reading and listening suggestions if you want to learn more. The essays are all written for a beginner but some of the ideas are su...
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