Research

Publications

Book Chapters

Policy Stuff

Book Reviews

  • Review of The Skyscraper Curse – and How Austrian Economists Predicted Every Major Economic Crisis of the Last Century by Mark Thornton. Independent Review, Vol. 24, No. 3.

  • Review of The Midas Paradox: Financial Markets, Government Policy Shocks, and the Great Depression by Scott Sumner, Journal of Economic History, Vol. 77, No. 2, p. 615 - 616.

  • Review of The Great Recession: Market Failure or Policy Failure? by Robert Hetzel, Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 30, No. 2, p. 251 - 254.

  • Review of Deliberating American Monetary Policy by Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey, Journal of Economic History, Vol. 75, No. 1, p. 283 - 285.

Working Papers

Work in Progress

  • "As Good As Gold: A Framework for Analyzing Redeemable Currencies"

  • Taxation and Defense, Revisited"

Fun Stuff

  • "Insiders, Outsiders, and Market Manipulation: GameStop as an Out-of-Sample Prediction" - Earl Thompson and Charlie Hickson developed a theory of asset price bubbles based on market manipulation and insider-outsider dynamics. They used this model to explain historical bubbles, such as the South Sea Bubble and the Mississippi Bubble. They also used their model to predict the housing bubble in the United States in real-time. In this paper, I summarize their argument and analyze the behavior of the stock price of GameStop in early 2021 to see how their theory predicts out-of-sample. In general, I find that their theory is broadly consistent with empirical observation. In doing so, this raises questions about market manipulation and the standard "David versus Goliath" narrative that emerged in the midst and in the aftermath of the bubble.

  • "An Interest Group Theory of University Efficiency" - Chronically under-funded niche products at a university are the Pareto efficient outcome of an interest group selection process.

  • "On the Absence of September Surprises" - Why do so many stories break in the month before an election? From the perspective of a political campaign, the motivation seems clear: the campaign wants to do damage to their opponent at a stage when their opponent has little time to response or counter-punch. But what about reporters? Would a reporter ever hold a story until October? The knee-jerk answer would seem to be 'no.' If you have a good story, you would want to run with it before anyone else does. However, in this paper I develop a model in which the reporter has to balance a trade-off. On the one hand, the reporter wants to print the story as soon as possible to gain the first-mover advantage. On the other hand, news shocks unrelated to the reporter's story will occur in the run-up to the election. These could be positive or negative shocks from the reporter's perspective. A series of positive news shocks (i.e. news that increases the value of the story) would make the story more valuable later. I show that a reporter facing this trade-off will likely wait some period of time before publishing the story. In fact, using some numerical simulations, I demonstrate a scenario in which a reporter who has a story on July 1st only publishes the story before October with probability 0.45. (This one is so fun, that I'm developing it into a bigger project with Brian Albrecht)

  • "A Real Option View of the Nickel Coke" - For 73 years, the price of a 6.5 oz. Coca-Cola (mmm, Coca-Cola) was a nickel. Why did this price last so long? What can the literature on investment decisions teach us about the nickel Coke? I argue that the option theory of investment can help us to understand why the price of Coke remained a nickel for so long.

  • "Labor Market Middlemen and the Minimum Wage as Collective Bargaining" - Why do minimum wages exist? Despite a vast literature on the effects of the minimum wage on employment, relatively little has been written on why minimum wages exist. In this paper, I attempt an explanation that focuses on the role of wage bargaining, middlemen, and transaction costs.

Other Writing

  • A Review of Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century (a revised version for a general audience appears in National Review)

Awards

Recent Presentations

  • "In Our Defense: National Defense and Taxation, Revisited", Middle Tennessee State, April 2021

  • "Usury Enforcement as an Alternative to Capital Taxation in Pre-Modern States", Washington-Area Economic History Brown Bag, Fall 2020

  • "U.S. Maritime Policy and Economic Efficiency", Public Choice Society, March 2020 (Cancelled due to the pandemic) .

  • "U.S. Maritime Policy and Economic Efficiency", Southern Economic Association Annual Meeting, November 2019.

  • "The Riksbank, Emergency Finance, Policy Experimentation, and Sweden's Reversal of Fortune", AIER Sound Money Project Annual Meeting, July 2018.

  • "The Riksbank, Emergency Finance, Policy Experimentation, and Sweden's Reversal of Fortune", Texas Tech University, March 2018

  • "Monetary Policy and the Interest Rate: Reflections on Allan Meltzer's Contributions to Monetary Economics", Reflections on Allan Meltzer's Contributions to Monetary Economics and Public Policy, Philadelphia, January 2018

  • "Nominal GDP Targeting and the Taylor Rule on an Even Playing Field", Wayne State University, April 2017

  • "Is Forward Guidance Effective? Indirect Evidence from the Speeches of Fed Presidents", Southern Economic Association Meetings, November 2016

  • "Nominal GDP Targeting and the Taylor Rule on an Even Playing Field", Southern Economic Association Meetings, November 2016

  • "Interest Rates and Investment Coordination Failures", APEE Conference, April 2016

  • "The Monetary Transmission Mechanism: Is the Interest Rate Enough?", APEE Conference, April 2016

  • "An Evaluation of Friedman's Monetary Instability Hypothesis", APEE Conference, April 2016

  • "Interest Rates and Investment Coordination Failures", Georgia Southern University, December 2015

  • "Money, Liquidity, and the Structure of Production", Southern Economic Association Meetings, November 2015

  • "Interest Rates, Policy Uncertainty, and Investment", Mississippi State University, September 2015

  • "Nominal GDP Targeting and the Taylor Rule on an Even Playing Field", Should Central Banks Target Nominal GDP? Conference, West Virginia University, April 2015

  • "Money, Liquidity, and the Structure of Production", UC-Irvine, April 2015

  • "The Bullionist Controversy: Theory and New Evidence", Rhodes College, February 2015

  • "The Bullionist Controversy: Theory and New Evidence", George Mason University, February 2015

  • "An Examination of Friedman's Monetary Instability Hypothesis", Society for Economic Measurement Conference, University of Chicago, August 2014