Liberty Review

Liberty Review summaries are selected by Liberty Fund Fellows on the basis both of their own research interests and of their relevance for Liberty Fund’s mission: to contribute to the preservation and development of individual liberty through research and educational activities.

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Recent Posts

Here are the 10 latest posts from Liberty Review.

Liberty Review April 27, 2017

Adam Smith, Prophet of Law and Economics

PAUL G. MAHONEY THE JOURNAL OF LEGAL STUDIES, Volume 46, Number 1 Abstract: Law and economics scholars do not normally identify Adam Smith as an important figure in the field. However, his Lectures on Jurisprudence contain a wealth of insights and analytical techniques that law and economics scholars of the late 20th century would repeat. This […]

Liberty Review April 25, 2017

Narrative Economics

ROBERT J. SHILLER THE AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW, Volume 107, Number 4 Abstract: This address considers the epidemiology of narratives relevant to economic fluctuations. The human brain has always been highly tuned toward narratives, whether factual or not, to justify ongoing actions, even such basic actions as spending and investing. Stories motivate and connect activities to deeply […]

Liberty Review April 23, 2017

The time inconsistency of long constitutions: Evidence from the world

GEORGE TSEBELIS EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL RESEARCH Abstract: This article analyses the mechanisms establishing time consistency of constitutions. It explains why shorter and more locked constitutions are more likely to be time consistent (change less) and that long constitutions are more time inconsistent (change more, despite locking). Empirical evidence from all of the democratic countries in […]

Liberty Review April 21, 2017

Are individualistic societies less equal? Evidence from the parasite stress theory of values

BORIS NIKOLAEV JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC BEHAVIOR & ORGANIZATION, Volume 138 Abstract: It is widely believed that individualistic societies, which emphasize personal freedom, award social status for accomplishment, and favor minimal government intervention, are more prone to higher levels of income inequality compared to more collectivist societies, which value conformity, loyalty, and tradition and favor more interventionist […]

Liberty Review April 19, 2017

Over-incarceration and disenfranchisement

MURAT C. MUNGAN PUBLIC CHOICE Abstract: This article presents a model wherein law enforcers propose sentences to maximize their likelihood of reelection, and shows that elections typically generate over-incarceration, i.e., longer than optimal sentences. It then studies the effects of disenfranchisement laws, which prohibit convicted felons from voting. The removal of ex-convicts from the pool of […]

Liberty Review April 8, 2017

Federalism, Devolution, and Liberty

LUKE PHILIP PLOTICA AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT, Volume 6, Number 1 Abstract: For much of the twentieth century the landscape of American federalism was characterized by accumulation of power by the national government. In recent decades influential political and legal thinkers have called for devolution of governmental power to the states and localities, where, they argue, such […]

Liberty Review April 6, 2017

Colonization and Democracy: Tocqueville Reconsidered

EWA ATANASSOW AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW, Volume 111, Issue 1 Abstract: The prominence of colonization in Tocqueville’s life and works has been widely noted, yet scholars disagree about its importance. The perceived tension between Tocqueville’s analysis of democracy and his advocacy of colonization continues to be the subject of heated scholarly debate. Revisiting Tocqueville’s analytical […]

Liberty Review April 5, 2017

North and south: long-run social mobility in England and attitudes toward welfare

NINA BOBERG-FAZLIĆ & PAUL SHARP CLIOMETRICA Abstract: In this paper, we examine the long-run social mobility experience in England. We present evidence for surprisingly constant levels of social mobility over the period 1550–1749, despite huge structural changes. Examining regional differences, we show that the North of England exhibited higher rates of social mobility than the South. […]

Liberty Review March 27, 2017

Misjudging the character of the welfare state: Hayek, generality, and the knowledge problem

CHRISTOPHER S. MARTIN & NIKOLAI G. WENZEL THE REVIEW OF AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS Abstract: What are the limits of collective action? As James Buchanan famously worried, is it possible to empower the productive state without lapsing into the predatory state? This paper uses insights from F.A. Hayek to address problems of public goods and the role of […]

Liberty Review March 25, 2017

Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party

SHANKER SATYANATH JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY Abstract: Using newly collected data on association density in 229 towns and cities in interwar Germany, we show that denser social networks were associated with faster entry into the Nazi Party. The effect is large: one standard deviation higher association density is associated with at least 15 percent faster Nazi […]