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The Program on the Foundations of the Market Economy is committed to understanding the dynamic economic forces of entrepreneurship and competition in the context of legal, ethical and cultural institutions. It also endeavors to explain the functions and origins of those institutions by using the tools of economic analysis. Its mission for students is to help remedy the clear deficiency of much graduate education in economics today that allows technique to crowd out the bigger picture of market institutions.

Located in one of the nation’s premier economics departments, the Program continues the work of several generations of NYU economists to develop a comprehensive understanding of markets. (The Program traces its intellectual origins to the seminar of Ludwig von Mises in the Graduate School of Business beginning in the late 1940s and through the decades of the Austrian Economics Program, founded by Israel Kirzner in 1975). It pursues an interdisciplinary approach to understanding markets. Students in the Program are trained not only in the most advanced current economic techniques, as part of the standard NYU economics curriculum, but also to appreciate the broader legal, ethical and cultural framework without which market processes would be ineffective in producing a prosperous society. . In this spirit he Program sponsors a book series, Foundations of the Market Economy, published by Routledge, in which more than twenty books have been produced dealing with such issues as:

  • The knowledge content of prices
  • "Free" or competitive banking
  • Transitional political economy
  • Time, uncertainty and business cycles
  • Constitutional political economy
  • Entrepreneurship and economic development

The approach followed in the series and by the members of the Program eschews the conception of “the economy” as a system continually in a state of economic balance. We see economic activities as a process of discovery and innovation. Our perspective pays critical attention to the creative and entrepreneurial sources of technological progress in economic growth and development. It also stresses the importance of property rights and freedom of contract in providing a framework for the mobilization of these creative forces.

The Program sponsors both shorter and longer-term visits by professors and advanced doctoral students from other universities working in areas of mutual interest. There is also a fellowship program for graduate students seeking to obtain their degrees from NYU who have a demonstrated interest in a broad understanding of the market economy.

The Program also sponsors the weekly Colloquium on Market Institutions and Economic Processes in which guests from all over the world present their research to a highly professional group of NYU faculty, students and faculty-fellows from other universities throughout the greater New York area. Recent speakers have included Robert Jervis (Politics, Columbia), Douglas Walton (Philosophy, Winnipeg), Niall Ferguson (History, Stern-NYU), Kevin McCabe (Economics, George Mason), Arthur Reber (Psychology, CUNY) ,Gerd Gigerenzer (Max Planck Institute, Berlin), and Ejan Mackaay (Faculty of Law, University of Montreal).

The research activities of the Program currently focus upon:

  • The phenomenon of “slippery slopes” in law and in public policy and their unintended consequences for legal rules;
  • Rational choice aspects of ethical decisionmaking and the knowledge requirements of different moral systems;
  • The processes of competition and entrepreneurship in economic development, and particularly the impact of extra-market institutions in the supply and allocation of entrepreneurial talent;
  • The role of the human language faculty in economic decisionmaking and the economic aspects of linguistic consciousness in supporting contract formation and trade.

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Program Director and Co-Director

Professor Mario J. Rizzo, Director
Professor David A. Harper, Codirector

Program Advisors

James M. Buchanan, Nobel Laureate in Economics (George Mason University)
Douglass North, Nobel Laureate in Economics (Washington University in St. Louis)
Michael Novak, Senior Scholar (American Enterprise Institute)

Program Associates from Other Universities

William Butos
Monetary Economics And Economics of Science
(Trinity College, Hartford)

Young Back Choi
Theory of Entrepreneurship and Income Distribution
(St. John’s University)

Sanford Ikeda
Political Economy and Urban Economics
(Purchase College, SUNY)

Roger Koppl
Expectations and "Big Players"
(Fairleigh Dickinson University)

Joseph Salerno
Monetary Economics and History of Thought
(Pace University)

Associated Adjunct Faculty

Thomas McQuade
Social Institutions and Computational Economics

Maria Pia Paganelli
History of Economic Thought

Recent Faculty Visitors

Ignacio De León (Former Director of the Pro-Competition Bureau, Venezuela and current Director of EconLEX)
Elisabeth Kreck (University of Aix-Marseille, France)
Tsutomu Hashimoto (Hokkaido University, Japan)
Keith Jakee ( Royal Melbourne Institute, Australia)
Frederic Sautet (New Zealand Commerce Commission)

Recent Doctoral Student Visitors

Neel Chamilall (University of Aix-Marseille, France)
Heath Spong (Royal Melbourne Institute, Australia)
Luc Tardieu  (University of Aix-Marseille, France) 

For further information, please contact Professor Mario Rizzo or Professor David Harper.


Economic Pathways to Numeracy, FME 05/01, by David A. Harper
The Problem of Moral Dirigisme: A New Argument Against Moralistic Legislation, FME 04/01, by Mario J. Rizzo
Trade, Language and Communication, FME 04/02, by David A. Harper
The Camel's Nose is in the Tent: Rules, Theories, and Slippery Slopes, by Mario J. Rizzo and Douglas Glen Whitman


Society for the Development of Austrian Economics:
June Summer Seminar: http://www.gmu.departments/economics/pboettke/summer.html
Review of Austrian Economics:
Max Planck Institute for Research into Economic Systems:
International Society for the New Institutional Economics:
American Law and Economics Association:
Routledge Book Series:
Colloquium Schedule:
Advances in Austrian Economics:
Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines:
The NYU Journal of Law and Liberty:
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