Daniel B Klein

Daniel B Klein

Daniel B Klein


Policy economics, political economy, political culture, economic characterology, Adam Smith, Mercatus affiliation

Daniel Klein is a Professor of Economics and JIN Chair at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University. He leads the Smithian Political Economy program at GMU Economics. He is the chief editor of Econ Journal Watch.

He holds degrees from George Mason University and New York University, where in both cases he studied the classical liberal traditions of economics. His teaching focuses on economic principles and public policy issues.

Professor Klein has published research on policy issues including toll roads, urban transit, auto emission, credit reporting, and the Food and Drug Administration. He has also written on spontaneous order, the discovery of opportunity, the demand and supply of assurance, why government officials believe in the goodness of bad policy, and the relationship between liberty, dignity, and responsibility.

Klein is the author of Knowledge and Coordination: A Liberal Interpretation, as well as coauthor of Curb Rights: A Foundation for Free Enterprise in Urban Transit, editor of Reputation: Studies in the Voluntary Elicitation of Good Conduct, and editor of What Do Economists Contribute?

Klein has coauthored with Alex Tabarrok a comprehensive Web site on the Food and Drug Administration (FDAReview.org), and co-edited with Fred Foldvary a book The Half-Life of Policy Rationales: How New Technology Affects Old Policy Issues (New York University Press, 2003).

Selected Publications


Author: Knowledge and Coordination: A Liberal Interpretation. Oxford University Press, 2012 (paperback 2013). 

Co-editor (with F.E. Foldvary): The Half-Life of Policy Rationales: How New Technology Affects Old Policy Issues, a volume about how new technology makes obsolete many of the standard arguments against free enterprise.  New York University Press, 2003. 

Editor: What Do Economists Contribute?, a volume of previous published articles by R. Coase, T. Schelling, F. Hayek, F. Graham, W. Hutt, I. Kirzner, D. McCloskey, C. Philbrook, and G. Tullock on being an economist; the central theme is that what society most needs from economists is instruction and enlightenment in the basics of the discipline.  New York: New York University Press (softback and hardback), 1999; London: Macmillan (hardback), 1999.  London: Palgrave (softback edition), 2001. [Chinese translation: Law Press, China, 2005.] 

Editor:  Reputation: Studies in the Voluntary Elicitation of Good Conduct, an interdisciplinary volume of articles, mostly previously published, on the emergence and maintenance of reputation and trust by nongovernmental means.  Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997. 

Co-author: Curb Rights: A Foundation for Free Enterprise in Urban Transit  (with A. Moore and B. Reja).  Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, Washington D. C., 1997.  The book argues that curb zones and bus stops are a crucial component of transit services.  Many problems of urban transit can be traced to the commons problem existing at the curb.  Privatizing curb zones in five-year leases would create a foundation for free enterprise in urban transit.  The book won a 1998 Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award from the Atlas Foundation.  It has been reviewed in JEL, EJ, SEJ, Trans. Res., JAPA, Regulation, and elsewhere. [Korean translation: Korean Research Institute of Transportation Industries, 2005.]

Dissertations Supervised

Hairuo Tan, Three Essays on Adam Smith's Moral Philosophy and Political Economy (2024)

Kacey Reeves West, Three Essays on Business and Politics in Adam Smith (2024)

Peter Marshall, Is the Benefit Corporation Beneficial? (2022)

Andrew G. Humphries, Three Essays on Developing Moral Judgment in Adam Smith and Alexis de Tocqueville (2021)

Kendra Asher, The Esoteric Writing of David Hume (2021)

Dylan Dellisanti, Three Essays on Adam Smith and the "Corruption Debate" (2019)

Eric Hammer, Analyzing the Moral Effects of the Welfare State Through the Lens of Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments (2018)

Erik W. Matson, Hume and Smith on Reason, Political Economy, and the Spirit of Philosophy (2017)

Michael Smith, Simple Protections from the Abuse of Market Power: The Complicated Reality (2017)

Jonathon Henry Diesel, The Jural Relationships and a Case For Esotericism: Three Essays on Adam Smith (2017)

Scott Drylie, Interpreting Adam Smith's Views on the Education of the Poor in the Age of Benevolence (2016)

John A. Robinson, Property and Exclusivity: Ownership in the Scottish Enlightenment, Adam Smith, and English Literature (2016)

Jason Briggeman, Searching for Justification of the Policy of Pre-Market Approval of Pharmaceuticals (2015)

Paul D. Mueller, Learning from Adam Smith: Propriety in Individual Choice, Moral Judgment, and Politics (2015)

Anthony J. Quain, Positional Externalities as an Argument for Tax Progressivity: A Critical Analysis (2013)

Mark J. Bonica, Adam Smith on Liberty and Reputation: Is Reputation Property? Are Defamation Laws Coercive? (2013)

Christopher S. Martin, Sympathy, Poverty, and Justice: Three Essays on the History of Economics with an Emphasis on Adam Smith (2012)

Michael J. Clark, The Virtuous Discourse of Adam Smith: The Political Economist’s Measured Words on Public Policy (2010)

Brandon Lucas, The Influence of Adam Smith: The Hayekian Narrative, Honest Profit, and the Invisible Hand (2010)