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Mike Munger

Mike Munger

Munger has made education a centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign, saying that allowing more charter schools is the first thing he would do: "Rich people have choices now. I want everyone to have a choice." He would give $1,500 education vouchers to low-income students in the poorest 40 counties of North Carolina; since most would stay in public school, this would have the effect of increasing aid to poor schools.

Articles by Mike Munger

The One Adam Smith Nonproblem

August 3, 2019

I argue (with zero originality) that there is only one Adam Smith. This reprises arguments made by Dan Klein, James Otteson, Russ Roberts, Vernon Smith, and Bart Wilson, among others. But I have tried to make the argument in a way that is concise and accessible. Which means, of course, that I may just have it wrong. YOU decide!

Published on: August 3, 2019August 3, 2019Author: Mike Munger

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Euvoluntary Exchange

June 26, 2019

Exchange is always a balance between non-worseness and euvoluntarity. A subject that Matt Zwolinski has also discussed, as I point out…. Also, Post v. Jones is an excellent case to use when you are teaching.

Published on: June 26, 2019June 26, 2019Author: Mike Munger

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The Future of Public Goods?

June 11, 2019

In which I make some predictions. Which is always dangerous, especially if you are making predictions about the future…..

Published on: June 11, 2019June 11, 2019Author: Mike Munger

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Bunny Slippers and Bosses

April 3, 2019

Huh. Maybe bosses DO wear bunny slippers, after all. Or so say I, here.

Published on: April 3, 2019April 3, 2019Author: Mike Munger

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The In-Kind Party

February 1, 2019

I got the below from a friend, someone I respect very much. The ideas (as the author him/herself would note) are not developed fully, or even halfway. This is a kind of stream-of-consciousness reaction to the difficulties that many young (35 and under) people see with our existing two-party system, and its corrosive tribalism.

Feel free to respond in comments, and I’ll make sure the author sees the responses.



(Nolana aplocaryoides) Pan de Azucar National Park“Jeff, one day you’ll learn that it’s harder to be kind than clever.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ grandfather to childhood Jeff BezosLibertarians and other free-marketeers are very good at being clever. But often not so good at

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Pave the Muddy Paths….

January 24, 2019

There are many definitions of “rule of law.” My good friend Paul Burgess is actually writing a dissertation on just how hard, but interesting, it is to try to define the concept. But, one person who had a clear definition was F.A. Hayek. I paraphrase that claim here: pave the muddy paths.

Ohio State UniversityPublished on: January 24, 2019January 24, 2019Author: Mike Munger

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An economics joke, and consideration of price-gouging

September 15, 2018

From the American Institute on Economic Research, my piece on price-gouging.
I’m against it.  I favor low prices and plentiful supply.
The problem is that if you don’t have plentiful supply, insisting on low prices makes things even worse.

Published on: September 15, 2018Author: Mike Munger

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Reason is the slave of the atavisms

July 31, 2018

Moral intuitions are not often, and may be almost never, arrived at through reason.
That may be a problem, when economic institutions evolve faster than our moral intuitions.

Published on: July 31, 2018Author: Mike Munger

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Fight the Goo Goo

July 24, 2018

There is a faction among conservative Progressives. People call them (and some call themselves) “GooGoos.” That is, they are the “good government” people.  Paul Krugman, for example. Classic goo goo.

It’s tempting to think of good government, and getting good people in government, as being really important.  My friend William Anderson has some discussion.
But we shouldn’t confuse a “great country” with a “great government.” I argue that, in fact, what makes a country great is the ability of its people to overcome and defeat a government, and elected officials, who suck.

Published on: July 24, 2018July 21, 2018Author: Mike Munger

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Universal Basic Income

July 21, 2018

I make three arguments for UBI. They are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive. And there are good counter-arguments. But I am surprised at how many opponents claim lack of political feasibility, and then suspend all disbelief for their OWN pet unicorn.
UBI would take a grand bargain, it’s true. But that is often true for Pareto improvements. Actually negotiating and enforcing the set of side payments is difficult. But “difficult” is not a misspelling of “impossible.”

Published on: July 21, 2018Author: Mike Munger

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July 19, 2018

I make an argument for directionalism. And recount my attempt to steal a Euro from an Oma.

Published on: July 19, 2018Author: Mike Munger

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Efficiency Can Be Redistributive

January 12, 2018


Many economists advocate a “congestion tax” because it improves allocative efficiency. People who value the use of a road less than the total costs (including external congestion effects on other drivers) “should” put off their use of the road.
But moving from one regime (ration using time) to another (ration using price) has distributional consequences.  It’s tempting to think we are talking Coase Theorem, but in fact we are talking Kaldor-Hicks-Scitovsky, which is another thing entirely.
Should Manhattan charge a congestion tax, or just charge Uber?

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Tear Down Those Statues

December 14, 2017


I expect that the reaction to this piece at Learn Liberty blog will either be “obviously true, not even worth saying” or “obviously wrong, and come the revolution you will be exterminated.” But I wanted to say it nonetheless.

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Truthiness and the Problems of Knowing, REALLY Knowing

November 15, 2017


Ten years ago, I published a piece in Public Choice.
I wish I had been wrong. My claim was that we are pretty good at exposing falsehoods, but terrible and in fact progressively more terrible at having a consensus on things that are real.
Here are my thoughts now.

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Anderson V. Munger Cage Match!!!

November 6, 2017

Economics, Book/Article Reviews

Okay, no. It was orderly and respectful. And she’s probably right.
But Liz Anderson WAS kind enough to have a discussion/debate about her new book, Private Government.
The video is here. Thanks to Bookmarks/Public Square for the opportunity!

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Permissionless Innovation

October 30, 2017


Some time ago, I wrote this little piece. For Learn Liberty.
Russ Roberts and I got to talk about it. A very interesting conversation, from my perspective. I always learn a lot from Russ.

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It’s not nice to stair, especially in Canada….

September 1, 2017


So, there was this slippery, muddy slope. But it was much faster as a way down to the gardens, or the soccer fields.
The city thought about building a stairway.  But it was expensive to obey all the rules the city council had imposed on public structures.
So a social entrepreneur built a stairway for $550.
But the city tore it down. And the city was quite right to do so.  Because rules.
Or so say I….

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Sharing Economy

June 23, 2017


One of the reasons I have been worried about UBI or some process of accounting for the very least well off is that I think the middleman/sharing economy is going to be so disruptive.
My new book, TOMORROW 3.0, is (it appears likely) to be published by Cambridge Press. This rather optimistic preview was reprinted by my friends at FEE.

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Supreme Court responds to Matal v. Tam, regarding “The Slants”

June 22, 2017


In 2011 a young musician and polymath, Simon Tam, got a suggestion from a lawyer friend. Simon’s band, “The Slants,” was blowing up quite a bit, and the lawyer friend was pointing out that they had not trademarked their name. The lawyer said that it shouldn’t be a big deal, a couple of hundred dollars and some paperwork.
Mr. Tam was pretty busy, but since the lawyer said he could take care of it Tam said to go for it. They had already been using the name for a while; in fact, their album “Slants! Slants! Revolution” in 2009 had taken for granted that the ironic use of the slur, based on the imagined shape of Asian eyes, was something they could own and take back. (I should note

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Jessica Flanigan’s “Hayek Lecture” at Duke

April 13, 2017


With thanks to Jonathan Anomaly for (as always) doing all the actual work and making all the important arrangements.  Thanks also to Bruce Caldwell, for doing the Hayek Lecture Series through H.O.P.E.
Prof. Jessica Flanigan of U of Richmond, giving the final Hayek Lecture of the year….

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Safe Space and Controversial Speakers

March 25, 2017


We (the academy) are not doing a very good job of educating students on what it is universities do, or why.
This was published in the Duke student newspaper, The Chronicle.
My reply tried to explain why that was really quite mistaken.

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Wait, What About….?

February 22, 2017


I have come to believe that my “whataboutism” is a cop-out, rather than a useful response.
As I say here….

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Rules, Norms, and Practices in Football

January 8, 2017


There are three factors governing the level of injuries we see in American football.  There are formal rules, the “code” of individual conduct, and the way that equipment interacts with the basic techniques of tackling and blocking.  Given the current conception of “the code,” having helmets actually makes concussions MORE likely.  Which might seem surprising.  Formal rule changes alone won’t solve the problem.
Or, so say I in this article in the New York Times…

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December 2, 2016


Is regulation a way to sabotage progress?  How would we know?
My thoughts, in a Learn Liberty video…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0nSiwnbv4o

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