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Thinking of Grad School?


Dear Colleagues:

We owe it to our students to give them the most full and accurate information we have about phd programs. Don’t get angry with me if I’ve been unjust to your school, or ignored it altogether. My info is only as good as what I’ve been given; please correct any errors and omissions in what appears below. I’m limiting this to phd programs! If I am skimpy in my description of yours, it is not because I am purposefully denigrating you. It is due to the fact that I have not yet been corrected by you. Please help me make this the best list of this sort it can be.

After I put together a final draft, I would ask that you use what parts of this that make sense to you, and ignore the rest. I hope and trust it will do some good, because we want our undergrads to make good grad school choices. I think this effort of mine has started some libertarian philosophers into doing for that field what we are doing for this one, which is great. Certainly, libertarian historians, political scientists, sociologists, etc., should all be encouraged to replicate our efforts.

Best regards,


Dear Students:

As you know, the best description of my own views is that of Austrian economics, libertarian political philosophy. Hence my focus in this direction. Virtually all Austrian economists are also libertarians in political philosophy, while the opposite does not at all hold true. That is, most free market economists are neoclassicals, public choicers, supply siders, etc., but not Austrians.

Here are my recommendations re grad schools. I have three separate lists.

In A, you can get a phd in economics, and Austrian economics is part of the official program.

In B you can get a phd in economics, and Austrian economics is not part of the official program (but there are Austrians and/or libertarians on the faculty).

In C, you can not get a phd in economics, and Austrian economics is not part of the official program, but there are Austrian economists on the faculty, and you can get a phd in some other, related, subject.

I rank the schools within each category in alphabetical order.

In A, you can get a phd in economics, and Austrian economics is part of the official program.

A1. Aix-en-Provence, France
Aix offers a Phd Program where Austrian economics is considered as a primary field of interest. The Program is provided by the ‘Centre d’analyse économique”, which is a department of the “Faculté d’Economie Appliquée” (University Aix-Marseille III). The actual director of the department is Pierre Garello who has studied at the Austrian department of NYU. Like Pierre Garello, the majority of the professors and lecturers on the faculty are Austrian economists, or at least oriented toward classical liberalism. For example: Jean-Pierre Centi, Gérard Bramoullé, Elisabeth Krecké, Hervé Magnouloux, Philippe Maitre, Thierry Sebagh, Dominique Augey.
Their specific fields of interest include epistemology, monetary economics, law-and-economics, public choice, entrepreneurship. The department regularly invites foreign visiting professors working within the tradition of Austrian economics, such as Mario Rizzo or Bruce Caldwell. Regularly, seminars are organized, where PHD students or faculty have the opportunity to present their research and discuss the first draft of their papers.
A masters degree in economics is a prerequisite to enter the PHD program. Admission depends on acceptance of the candidate by the director of the Program.
Contact person: mailto:elisabeth_krecke@yahoo.fr

A2. ESEADE, Argentina
ESEADE (Superior School of Economics and Business Management) is a 25 year old Graduate School of Business located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2003 it started a Ph.D. program in Economics, one in Management, and one in Economic and Social History. These programs place the main emphasis on the dissertation. Director of the PhD. in Economics is Juan Carlos Cachanosky, who got his own PhD with the eminent Austrian, Hans Sennholz. Foreign tutors are all Austrian/libertarian (see “Doctorados at www.eseade.edu.ar.) They are: Walter Block; Lawrence H. White; Peter G. Klein; Peter Boettke; Michael Wohlgemuth; Carlos Rodriguez Braun; Jesús Huerta de Soto; Jerry Ellig; George Selgin; Jan Narveson; Richard M. Ebeling; Peter Lewin; Nicolai Paul
Foss; Richard N. Langlois; Wolfgang Grassl. Contact: Martin Krause [martin@eseade.edu.ar]

A3. Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala.
The following comes to me courtesy of Giancarlo Ibarguen, President, Universidad Francisco Marroquín:
Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM) in Guatemala, under its School of Economic Sciences, offers both a master and PhD program in economics based on the principles of the Austrian School of Economics. UFM’s doctoral program (carried out in English) follows the European model of dissertation and defense. A masters degree in economics is recommended though not requisite, with admission based on the successful completion of a series of exams in macroeconomics, microeconomics and history of economic thought.
Juan Carlos Cachanosky, academic director of both programs, took his PhD under Austrian economist Hans Sennholz. The roster of dissertation advisors is an international who’s who of classical liberal scholars, many of whom are either Austrian or strong sympathizers in their economic focus: Donald Boudreaux (chairman of economics, George Mason University), George Selgin (professor of economics, University of Georgia), Lawrence White (F.A. Hayek professor of economic history, University of Missouri at St. Louis), Robert Higgs (senior fellow in political economy, The Independent Institute), Stephen Davies (professor of history, Manchester Metropolitan University), Joseph Keckeissen (professor of economics, UFM), Pierre Garello (professor of economics, Université Aix-Marseille), Peter Boettke (Senior Fellow, Mercatus Center; professor of economics, George Mason University), and Roger Garrison (professor of economics, Auburn University). Contact: Wenceslao Giménez-Bonet, dean, School of Economic Sciences at UFM: wgbonet@ufm.edu.gt

A4. George Mason
There are quite a few Austrian economists on the faculty: Peter Boettke, Don Boudreaux, Karen Vaughn (who is retiring soon), Richard Wagner, Jack High (Public Policy Dept.), Tyler Cowen, Vernon Smith, Alex Tabbarok. In addition, James Buchanan has some Austrian leanings, but mainly on subjective costs; however, he is to be credited, in large part, for the existence of the Austrian program at Mason in the first place. Bryan Caplan and Gordon Tullock are knowledgeable about Austrianism, albeit critical. Plus there are an additional, dozen or so libertarian but non Austrian profs, several in the law school; for example, Todd Zywicki, Walter Williams, James Bennett, Ron Heiner, Charles Rowley, John Hasnas, Michael Krauss and Russell Roberts. Buchanan and Smith are Nobel Prize winners in economics. Mason features formal course work in Austrian economics, and a field exam in that subject so students can specialize in Austrian economics. In my own personal view, while Mason is not typically rated as a high prestige place like the Ivies, Chicago, MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, etc., its two Nobel prize winners show it is really underrated. I expect that by the time you get your phd, Mason will move up in the prestige rankings. You should also look at the web site of the James M. Buchanan Center and the Program on Philosophy, Politics and Economics http://www.gmu.edu/jbc/ppe/index.html, and the RAE web site www.gmu.edu/rae. In addition, many of the Mason profs are members of the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, an organization which holds its annual meetings at in conjunction with the Southern Economic Association: http://it.stlawu.edu/sdae/. Contact: “Peter Boettke” pboettke@gmu.edu mailto:pboettke@gmu.edu, and check out his website; http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/pboettke/workshop.html

A5. New York University
Mario Rizzo and David Harper are Austrian economists on the faculty. There are explicitly Austrian courses available, here. Most importantly, NYU features an informal weekly Austrian seminar attended by several New York City area Austro libertarians, in addition to these two, including Joe Salerno (Pace University), Bill Butos (Trinity College, CT), Sandy Ikeda (SUNY-Purchase, NY) Young Back Choi (St. John’s Univ., NY), Roger Koppl (Fairleigh-Dickinson Univ., NJ), James Sadowsky (emeritus Fordham University, NYC), and Thomas McQuade (no academic affiliation but he received Ph.D. at Auburn under Garrison and Yeager). The official colloquium name has been changed this year from Austrian Economic Colloquium to Colloquium on Market Institutions and
Economic Processes. Another advantage of this program: there are Austrian Fellowships available at NYU. I.e. you can get a full ride and stipend because of your Austrian credentials. Israel Kirzner, the elder statesman of Austrian economics, is now retired, but it is my understanding that he still has some contact with the program. However, applicants should be aware that the NYU program is highly mathematical. The typical admitted student has: 3-4 semesters of calculus, a course in linear algebra, two semesters of mathematical statistics. Some have taken differential equations. The quantitative GRE minimum is around 770. There is no chance that a student who doesn’t have this background can get through the first year. Economics here is now applied mathematics. A successful applicant will have the equivalent of a mathematics minor. NYU gets 700-1,000 applicants and accepts only 20-25. Contact: mario.rizzo@nyu.edu.

In B you can get a phd in economics, and Austrian economics is not part of the official program (but there are Austrians and/or libertarians on the faculty).

B1. University of Canterbury, New Zealand
This material comes to me from Eric Crampton:
I thought you might want to add the University of Canterbury to your list.
I’m still feeling my way around here — I may be the only full blown libertarian on faculty, but there are a few others who are free market oriented. They’re letting me teach public choice this fall and do the graduate public finance as a mix of public finance and public choice in the spring.
The school does have a PhD program, but it’s a bit of an odd one — it’s entirely thesis based, and done after completion of the master’s level coursework and the master’s thesis. It is certainly not as strong a PhD as you’d get at most US schools, but it is a good option.
Alan Woodfield is published in Public Choice; Phil Meguire is a Chicago trained economist. Steve Tucker does experimental work, some of it exploring public choice theory. Jeremy Clark has done some experimental public choice. See: http://www.econ.canterbury.ac.nz/econ.htm. Contact person: Eric Crampton: eric.crampton@canterbury.ac.nz.

B2. University of Chicago.
There are lots of free enterprise but non Austrian professors here. Almost all Nobel Prizes awarded to free enterprise oriented economists have had some contact with Chicago, either as students or professors. Chicago is widely known as the most prestigious of all free enterprise oriented phd programs. (However, see some interesting and critical comments on this program below under the Harvard listing).

B3. Clemson
There are several free enterprisers at Clemson. Bob Tollison, Bruce Yandle (APEE), Daniel Benjamin (PERC) and Bob McCormick. http://hubcap.clemson.edu/economics/faculty/intro.htm

B4. The University of Connecticut
Steve Cunningham is pro free market, Francis Ahking is a Rational Expectations Chicago oriented economist, and Dick Langlois is a Mises/Hayek professor.

B5. Florida State, Tallahassee
Bruce Benson (President of the Association of Private Enterprise Educators – APEE) and Randy Holcombe have interests in Austrianism; James Gwartney, is a strong free enterpriser. Contacts: “Prof. James D. Gwartney” jdgwart@aol.com
“Bruce Benson” bbenson@garnet.acns.fsu.edu
holcombe@garnet.acns.fsu.edu @garnet.acns.fsu.edu>

B6. University of Georgia, Athens.
George Selgin is highly knowledgeable about Austrian economics. Dwight Lee is a libertarian. I think there are two or three other libertarian non Austrian profs there. Contact: “Prof. Dwight R. Lee” DLEE@cbacc.cba.uga.edu; “selgin@terry.uga.edu” selgin@terry.uga.edu.

B7. Guelph University
Glenn Fox is an Austro libertarian. There are phd programs available in Agricultural Economics, Economics, Environmental Economics and Rural Studies. He can supervise students in all of these programs. While he is the only Austrian at Guelph, his is a relatively free-market oriented department. However, Canada is even more socialistic than the U.S., hard as that is to believe. Contact: Glenn C. Fox Gfox@agec.uoguelph.ca

B8. Harvard University
No, this is not a typographical error. I pass along the following statement, which came to me as a result of circulating an earlier version of this list:
“One thing about Chicago- most of the somewhat pro free market types are gone- the old limited government crowd of Friedman, Coase, Stigler and so on are long gone. Lucas and Becker are still around, but Becker is in poor health. Many of the newer Chicago guys are just run of the mill Neoclassicals.
“On the bright side, Harvard has improved immensely. Galbraith is gone. Robert Barro, Andrei Schleifer, Alberto Alesina, and Martin Feldstein are all at least as free market as Lucas or Becker (better than most economists, though not an Austro libertarian). Feldstien is the premier mainstream critic of Social Security. Schleifer likes Hayek. Greg Mankiw is also vastly different from the old Keynesians, though not as good as Barro or Feldstein. Harvard is arguably more free market than Chicago these days, not that either school is as good as GMU.”
In my own view, Chicago is better from a free enterprise point of view than in the opinion of this correspondent; I include his statement because I didn’t realize that Harvard was so good. At the University of Chicago law school alone there are Richard Epstein, Richard Posner and William Landes, all strong advocates of free enterprise; I say this despite the fact that I have had my disagreements with all three.

B9. University of Missouri at Columbia
Offers a phd in agricultural economics. Peter Klein is a libertarian Austrian. There are also offered PhDs in economics, political science, history, finance, management, etc. Klein can be on the dissertation committees in any of those departments. Ag
Econ is his home department, so he can only chair dissertation committees in that subject.
Contact: Peter Klein pklein@missouri.edu

B10. North Carolina State.
It has a phd program in economics. While it is not Austrian it is very free market. Steve Margolis is the department chair and many other faculty members are free market, supply-side, Chicago types such as David Ball, Lee Craig, Walter Wessels (Grove City undergrad), Ed Erickson and Mike Walden. Wally Thurman, a PERC fellow, free market environmentalist, has a joint appointment with the Ag and Resource econ dept, as does Tom Grennes with Econ & Ag Econ. Also, there are Austrians around. E.C. Pasour is emeritus but occasionally still teaches. Roy Cordato, an Austro-libertarian, teaches a course there, but only for upper level undergrads.

B11. Washington University, St. Louis
Murray Weidenbaum is a free market oriented professor, but teaches only undergraduate courses. Douglass North is a Nobel Laureate in Economics with a free market orientation, who thinks Hayek the most important economist of the 20th century. In addition, John Nye (an I.H.S. fellow) and Lee Benham are advocates of economic freedom. To the best of my knowledge, Wash U has more libertarian students than at any other school, virtually none of whom are econ majors. Wash U is also home of the Center for New Institutional Social Sciences, a program of interest to Austrians. Contact: Art Carden, carden@wueconc.wustl.edu who is a graduate student in economics.

In C, you can not get a phd in economics, and Austrian economics is not part of the official program, but there are Austrian economists on the faculty, and you can get a phd in some other, related, subject.

C1. Auburn University
There is no phd in economics. The agricultural school has a phd program in agricultural economics. There is a phd in applied economics, interdepartmental with agricultural economics and forestry, and integrated with the masters in economics. It is flexible so students can write dissertations with people from the economics department. You can also get a “resource” economics phd from the forestry department which is similarly flexible. Most students take most of their core courses in the economics department. Professors sympathetic to free enterprise include John Jackson in economics, David Laband (formerly of econ. department) now in forestry, Henry Thompson (formerly of econ. department) now in agriculture. Roger Garrison, an eminent Austrian macroeconomist and Sven Thomessen, an Austrian economist instructor, teach only undergraduate courses. Mark Thornton (an Austro libertarian) serves on a few dissertation committees. Further, Roderick Long, a professor of philosophy with a strong interest in the philosophy of Austrian economics, serves on economics dissertation committees. Contact: John Jackson, Economics Department Director of Graduate Studies; jacksjd@auburn.edu or Greg Traxler, Director of the Applied Economics PhD gtraxler@acesag.auburn.edu.

A great advantage for Austrian students at Auburn is that the Mises Institute is located right next door. The Mises Institute is the preeminent institution for the teaching of Austrian economics and libertarian theory. They hold numerous conferences, workshops, where those among the best Austro libertarians lecture several times a year. This list includes the senior faculty of the Mises Institute: http://mises.org/faculty.asp. For more information on the Mises Institute, contact: Pat@mises.org

C2. University of Nevada at Las Vegas
There is available a phd in Political Science and Sociology, but not Economics. Hans Hoppe, in my opinion the foremost Austro-libertarian now writing, can be a member of either of these dissertation committees. Contact: hoppeh@nevada.edu

Comment from Prof. Peter Boettke of George Mason on this letter:

“Unfortunately, opportunities for advanced study in Austrian economics are limited and good information for graduate students interested in Austrian economics is rare and should be made available to all possible parties. Professor Walter Block is doing an invaluable service in this regard. When I was a student I was fortunate because Bettina Bien Graves (FEE) and Walter Grinder (IHS) took a special interest in me and directed me to study at GMU, but these individuals have since retired and it is my opinion that many students interested in pursuing the advanced study of Austrian economics are falling between the cracks.”


Contact Walter Block

Walter Block is the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at Loyola University, senior fellow of the Mises Institute, and regular columnist for LewRockwell.com.

Click here to see an extensive online compendium of Dr. Block's publications.

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