Comparative Advantages

The Department of Economics is known for the following unique areas of specialization:

Austrian Economics

George Mason University is the premier place for the study of Austrian Economics by faculty, alumni, and graduate students. Mason offers courses, brown bag lunches, colloquia, and the seminars in Austrian Economics series. Past speakers include: Mancur Olson, James Buchanan, Israel Kirzner, Larry White, Mario Rizzo, Roger Garrison, and Peter Boettke. Furthermore, The Mercatus Center offers a limited number of graduate assistantships to Mason students who are interested in Austrian Economics.

Experimental Economics

George Mason University houses the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science (ICES), a world-leader in the study of economic social and market behavior. ICES is comprised of faculty from economics, law, computational science, neuroscience and engineering. ICES was founded by Dr. Vernon L. Smith, who was the 2002 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Science.

Public Choice

George Mason University was the home of Nobel Laureate James Buchanan. Dr. Buchanan published ground-breaking work in Public Choice and Constitutional Political Economy. He was the coauthor, with Gordon Tullock, of The Calculus of Consent and served as the Executive Director of the Center for Study of Public Choice until his death in 2013.

The Center for Study of Public Choice funds students interested in Virginia Political Economy and supports two public choice seminars a week: an academic colloquium and an informal lunch. The Virginia School of Political Economy examines a variety of other subjects giving George Mason a unique perspective. For example, the following classes incorporate public choice theory: Industrial/Organization, Macroeconomics, and Monetary Theory.

Public Policy

Given George Mason University's proximity to Washington, D.C., and because most classes are held in the evening, many students find policy related work in either the public or private sector while taking classes. This provides students with a unique opportunity to apply their learning outside the classroom. Many of our graduates continue to work in the area of policy after graduation. The master's program attracts many students who are actively employed in government and business in the D.C. area or are looking for such employment. With many classes conveniently offered in evenings at the Arlington Law School Campus, students are able to further their education and their career concurrently. Center for Study of Public Choice, the Law and Economics Center, and The Institute for Public Policy, all at George Mason University, provide abundant resources for the student of public policy.