Distinguished Mason Economics Professor

Distinguished Mason Economics Professor Image

Alex Tabarrok


It is a privilege and honor to have the opportunity to distinguish our professor, Dr. Alex Tabarrok, for his successful contributions to our department and the field of economics. Alex Tabarrok is an Associate professor of Economics at George Mason University, the Director of the Center for Study of Public Choice, the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center, and the Director of Research for The Independent Institute.

Dr. Tabarrok’s research includes a wide range of interesting topics such as the patent system reform, the effectiveness of bounty hunters compared to the police, how judicial elections bias judges and how local poverty rates impact trial decisions by juries, methods to increase the supply of human organs for transplant, the regulation of pharmaceuticals, voting systems, etc. His scholarly work has appeared in the Journal of Law and Economics, Public Choice, Economic Inquiry, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Theoretical Politics, The American Law and Economics Review, Kyklos, and many other journals; whereas his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and many other magazines and newspapers.  

The most recent book written by Dr. Tabarrok is the e-book Launching the Innovation Renaissance, which received media attention from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, The Irish Times, and many others. Op-eds based on this book by Dr. Tabarrok included “The No-Brainer Issue of the Year: Let High-Skill Immigrants Stay” and “The Innovation Nation vs. the Warfare-Welfare State” published by The Atlantic. The Chronicle of Higher Education published “Tuning in to the Dropping Out” (March 2012), which generated a great deal of attention. Dr. Tabarrok also co-authored with Professor Tyler Cowen the leading textbook of the principles of economics, Modern Principles of Economics, and co-authored with Professor Daniel Klein the extensive web site on FDA policies and reform, FDAReview.org. He is also the editor of the books Entrepreneurial Economics: Bright Ideas from the Dismal Science, The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society and Changing the Guard: Private Prisons and the Control of Crime.

Dr. Tabarrok sees online education as a revolutionary force in education not just in the United States but all over the world. His article “Why Online Education Works” at CATO Unbound explains some of the advantages of online education. Together with Tyler Cowen, he co-authors the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution, which Columbia Journalism Review recently said was “A showcase of the wide-ranging, urbane tastes of economists Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, it’s the go-to blog for polymaths and aspiring James Bond villains.Tabarrok and Cowen later founded the online educational platform Marginal Revolution University, which opened in October 2012 with an online course in development economics that was accessed by students all over the world. New courses on the Euro Crisis, Great Economists and Media Economics debuted in February of 2013, and more are on the way.  

Dr. Tabarrok continues to travel widely. This year he was invited by Google to speak in Korea about innovation and while in Korea he also spoke at the World Knowledge Forum. He also spoke on patents and innovation at the Kauffman Foundation and on patents at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.among many other talks. His short animated video, End Software Patents, was widely viewed.