Professor of Economics, past President of the Foundation for Economic Education
Donald J. Boudreaux

Donald Joseph Boudreaux (born 10 September 1958) is an American economist, author, professor, and co-director of the Program on the American Economy and Globalization at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

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Donald Boudreaux
George Mason University, Department of Economics

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1958, in New Orleans, Louisiana


Competitive Enterprise Institute
CEI Expert Biography
"Donald J. Boudreaux is chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University. ... During the Spring 1996 semester he was a Visiting Fellow in Law and Economics at the Cornell Law School. His PhD in economics is from Auburn University and his law degree is from the University of Virginia. He has lectured -- in both the U.S. and Europe -- on a wide variety of topics, including the nature of law, antitrust law and economics, and international trade."
George Mason University
Biographical sketch
"Professor Donald J. Boudreaux was the Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, from August 2001 to August 2009. ... He is published in The Wall Street Journal, Investor's Business Daily, Regulation, Reason, Ideas on Liberty, The Washington Times, The Journal of Commerce, the Cato Journal, and several scholarly journals such as the Supreme Court Economic Review, Southern Economic Journal, Antitrust Bulletin, and Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. He is the author of Globalization (Greenwood Press, 2008) and has a blog with Russ Roberts entitled Cafe Hayek."


Cato Institute, Adjunct Scholar
Foundation for Economic Education, President, 1997-2001
Independent Institute, Research Fellow
Virginia Institute for Public Policy, Board of Scholars
George Mason University, Chairman of the Department of Economics
Institute for Humane Studies, Guest lecturer
Mises Institute, Adjunct Faculty (-2005)

Web Pages

Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education: Donald J. Boudreaux - Libertarian
"Donald J. Boudreaux's resume includes positions at two of the most celebrated organizations in the libertarian movement: The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and George Mason University. At FEE, an Irvington-on-Hudson, New York-based research center that promotes individual freedom, private property, limited government, and free trade, Boudreaux served as president from 1997 to 2001. Since 2001, he has served as chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University -- a Fairfax, Virginia institution that is known worldwide for its libertarian scholarship."
Donald J. Boudreaux - Online Library of Liberty
Includes link to a "Liberty Matters" (an online discussion forum) event led by Boudreaux
"George Mason University"


A scholar's scholar retires,, 21 Jul 2015
Discusses Higgs' retirement, highlighting his books Competition and Coercion and Crisis and Leviathan as well as his identification of "regime uncertainty"
"Bob is one of our greatest living scholars. Specializing in economic history, Bob's first major work is his 1976 book, 'Competition and Coercion.' In it, Bob documents the many ways that economic competition — including people's ability to move from place to place — enabled blacks to improve their economic situation after the Civil War. These improvements came despite the bigotry that then reigned in the South — and despite the activities of government."
Related Topic: Robert Higgs
Julian Simon, Lifesaver: Julian Simon Was a Hero of the Free Market, The Freeman, Apr 1998
Reflections on the passing of Julian Simon
"Julian's foremost contribution to humankind was his demonstration that prosperity and a healthy environment are best assured when governments respect private property and free markets—because only within free markets can human creativity flourish."
Related Topic: Julian Simon
Read, Leonard E. (1898-1983), by Donald J. Boudreaux, Nick Slepko, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
"Leonard E. Read, an activist, a fundraiser, and an administrator, is best known for originating the oldest existing free-market nonprofit in the world, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). At the time of its founding, FEE was '[t]he only organization that introduces newcomers to the idea of the free market as a moral institution, not just as a means of efficient production.' ... In his final book, The Path of Duty (1982), he reemphasized the 'power of attraction ... [and how libertarians must] become so proficient in understanding and explaining freedom that others will seek [their] tutorship.'"
Simon, Julian (1932-1998), The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
"Julian Simon was one of the most underappreciated economists of the 20th century. ... Julian Simon's legacy is profound. Free people are net producers—they are 'the ultimate resource.' Thus, controls on production, creativity, and industry designed to 'conserve' resources are likely to have the opposite effect in the long term. Simon's work demonstrates that those people who value continued abundance for future generations should support the free market, which rewards both efficiency and creativity in developing new resources."
Thoughts on Freedom - Politics and Prohibition: It Wasn't American Protest That Ended Alcohol Prohibition, The Freeman, Mar 2002
Explains why, based on the story of alcohol prohibition, drug prohibition will not end solely on the realization of policy failure and side effects such as gang violence
"National alcohol prohibition in the United States began on January 16, 1920 ... Speakeasies and gangster violence became familiar during the 1920s ... But contrary to modern belief, the 1920s witnessed little sympathy for ending prohibition. Neither citizens in general nor politicians concluded from the obvious failure of prohibition that it should end. ... In research we conducted, Adam Pritchard and I found that bulging income-tax revenues made it possible for Congress finally to give in to the decades-old movement for alcohol prohibition. "
Related Topics: War on Drugs, Prohibition


Free markets king in Sweden, at least for a day: Ten minutes with .... Donald Boudreaux, by Donald J. Boudreaux, Bill Steigerwald, 18 Dec 2002
Comments on Vernon Smith's Nobel Prize
"The problem with politics is you have these interest groups clamoring for favors and handouts. If you're clamoring for favors and handouts, then these very simple rules stand in the way. You have to always leave yourself room to maneuver and make exceptions. You can't state a simple rule and allow yourself the wiggle room to make exceptions to it."
Related Topics: Nobel Prize, Vernon L. Smith

Books Authored

I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read, by Donald J. Boudreaux (afterword), Milton Friedman (introduction), Leonard Read, Foundation for Economic Education (publisher), 1999
Read's most famous essay, in pamphlet form; electronic version at the Library of Economics and Liberty
"For its sheer power to display in just a few pages the astounding fact that free markets successfully coordinate the actions of literally millions of people from around the world into a productive whole, nothing else written in economics compares to Leonard Read's celebrated essay, 'I, Pencil.' This essay's power derives from Read's drawing from such a prosaic item an undeniable, profound, and spectacular conclusion: it takes the knowledge of countless people to produce a single pencil. No newcomer to economics who reads 'I, Pencil' can fail to have a simplistic belief in the superiority of central planning or regulation deeply shaken."


Economics: Is Raising Minimum Wage A Bad Idea? - Learn Liberty, 14 Jan 2016
Discusses three reasons why mandating a $15 minimum wage is counterproductive: it kills jobs, it hurts those most in need of help and coercive laws aren't necessary since businesses voluntarily give raises to deserving employees
Related Topic: Minimum Wage Laws
Free Trade vs. Protectionism, 31 Aug 2011
Defines free trade and protectionism, the use of tariffs to implement the latter, and gives Hong Kong and the United States as examples of the benefits of free trade
"Free trade is simply a policy of treating foreign goods and services no differently than domestic goods and services are treated. ... [Hong Kong] allows its citizens to buy, on whatever terms its citizens want to buy, goods and services from wherever else in the world they want to buy those goods and services. As a result, Hong Kong is very, very rich. ... it's unquestionable that the free trade that takes place within this huge transcontinental nation is a major reason for Americans' high standard of living and continued economic growth. "

The Real "Truth About the Economy:" Have Wages Stagnated?, 31 Jan 2012
Responds to Robert Reich's video "The Truth About the Economy" (13 Jun 2011) focusing on three points: measures of inflation, benefits other than wages and distinguishing between statistics and individuals
Related Topic: Wages


The Cato Institute at 40, by Trevor Burrus, Peter Goettler, Aaron Ross Powell, 10 Mar 2017
Interview with Peter Goettler, President and CEO of the Cato Institute since March 2015
"I remember a few years ago Don Boudreaux, the economist at George Mason University on his blog Café Hayek, wrote a really good ... description of what he saw Cato's role is. Because he was commenting on the important role Cato has played over the decades of his existence. He talked about the difference between being someone who's oriented towards politics, versus someone who's oriented towards ideas and principles. ... What Don was saying in this is that that little bit of the iceberg that sits above the water is what's politically feasible at any point in time. "

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Donald J. Boudreaux" as of 13 May 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.