Economics

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Peter J Boettke

Peter J Boettke

Peter J Boettke

University Professor

Austrian economics, institutional economics, and comparative economics

Peter Boettke is a University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University, the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism, and the Director of the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at GMU.

Through an analytical framework strongly influenced by the paradigm of Austrian economics, as well as other intellectual traditions personified by thinkers in the main line of economic thought, such as Adam Smith, Jean Baptiste Say, James M. Buchanan and Elinor Ostrom, Boettke seeks to develop a robust political economy research program that expands an understanding of how individuals acting through the extended market order can effect generalized freedom and prosperity for society, and how the institutional arrangements within which economic actors find themselves can shape, reinforce, or inhibit the individual choices that lead spontaneously to sustained economic development.  Boettke is particularly interested in how these dynamics influence entrepreneurial activity in transitioning, weak and failed states.

In addition to a variety of journal articles on these and related themes, his most recent book, 
Living Economics, provides a resource for how teachers and students can engage in these fascinating questions in economics and illuminates the core principles that should guide our thinking.  Additionally, his co-authored book with Paul Dragos, Institutional Analysis and Development: The Bloomington School (Routledge, 2009), delves into the work of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom and analyzes the ascendancy of the New Institutional Theory movement.  Boettke is also the author of several books on the history, collapse and transition from socialism in the former Soviet Union—The Political Economy of Soviet Socialism: The Formative Years, 1918-1928 (Kluwer, 1990); Why Perestroika Failed: The Economics and Politics of Socialism Transformation (Routledge, 1993); and Calculation and Coordination: Essays on Socialism and Transitional Political Economy (Routledge, 2001). Professor Boettke has also edited a number of volumes on topics in market process economics. In 1998, Boettke assumed the editorship of the Review of Austrian Economics (Kluwer Academic Publishers). Prior to assuming that editorship, Boettke was the editor of Advances in Austrian Economics.

Before joining the faculty at George Mason University in 1998, Boettke taught at New York University. In addition, Boettke was a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution for War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University during the 1992-1993 academic years and the F. A. Hayek Fellow in 2004 and 2006 at the London School of Economics.  Additionally, he has been a visiting professor or scholar at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, the Max Planck Institute for Research into Economic Systems in Jena, Germany, the Stockholm School of Economics, Central European University in Prague, and the Charles University in Prague.  In March 2011 Boettke was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Economics in Prague, Czech Republic.  At George Mason University, Boettke directs the weekly Workshop in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, which was established to encourage and explore the latest research at the intersection of these three disciplines by scholars from across the social sciences and humanities.  The mission of the Workshop sees a more traditional outlet in The New Thinking in Political Economy book series with Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc. of which Boettke is the series editor.  He also serves as co-editor with Timur Kuran of Duke University on the Cambridge Series in Economics, Cognition & Society with Cambridge University Press.  Boettke is an affiliated faculty member in GMU’s Russian Studies Program, has taught at the GMU School of Law, and has served on dissertation committees in the School of Public Policy.  He has taught in the Honors College Programs at Oakland University, New York University, and George Mason University.

As a teacher, Boettke is dedicated to cultivating enthusiasm for the economic way of thinking and the importance of economic ideas in future generations of scholars and citizens.  He is also now the co-author, along with David Prychitko, of the classic principles of economics texts of Paul Heyne's The Economic Way of Thinking (12th Edition, Prentice Hall, 2009).  His efforts in the classroom have earned him a number of distinctions including the Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Arts and Sciences at New York University and the GMU Alumni Association's 2009 Faculty Member of the Year award.

In 2005, Boettke received the Charles Koch Distinguished Alumnus award from the Institute for Humane Studies and the Jack Kennedy Award for Alumni Achievement from Grove City College.  Boettke was the 2010 recipient of the Association of Private Enterprise Education’s Adam Smith Award as well as GMU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award.  In 2012, Boettke received a doctorate honoris causa in Social Sciences from Universidad Francisco Marroquin.  In 2013, Dr. Boettke received his second honorary doctorate from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Romania.

Outside of the classroom, Boettke has pursued a parallel career in athletics. A former high school and college basketball and tennis player, Boettke first worked as a tennis teaching professional before pursuing his graduate degree in economics. After graduate school, he began coaching youth basketball and eventually coached at the high school and elite AAU level. Several of his former players are now competing in college. In 2009, he was inducted as a coach into the local basketball Hall of Fame in Northern Virginia.