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The Best of Econlib: 2017 (cont.)

Mea Culpa on Fourth Amendment ... We should focus on building "u...

As we continue to look back on 2017, we now share the most-visited entries from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. What's your favorite entry? How do you use the CEE? We'd love to see your responses in the Comments!


10. David Ricardo biography
...Ricardo was one of those rare people who achieved both tremendous success and lasting fame. After his family disinherited him for marrying outside his Jewish faith, Ricardo made a fortune as a stockbroker and loan broker. When he died, his estate was worth more than $100 million in today's dollars. At age twenty-seven, after reading Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, Ricardo got excited about economics. He wrote his first economics article at age thirty-seven and then spent the following fourteen years--his last ones--as a professional economist...

9. Milton Friedman biography
...Friedman was the twentieth century's most prominent advocate of free markets...In 1951 Friedman received the John Bates Clark Medal honoring economists under age forty for outstanding achievement. In 1976 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for "his achievements in the field of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy."

8. Hoover's Economic Policies, by Steven Horwitz (ONLINE ONLY!)
...Many historians, most of the general public, and even many economists think of Herbert Hoover, the president who preceded Franklin D. Roosevelt, as a defender of laissez-faire economic policy. According to this view, Hoover's dogmatic commitment to small government led him to stand by and do nothing while the economy collapsed in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash. The reality is quite different...

7. Fascism, by Sheldon Richman economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer...In its day (the 1920s and 1930s), fascism was seen as the happy medium between boom-and-bust-prone liberal capitalism, with its alleged class conflict, wasteful competition, and profit-oriented egoism, and revolutionary Marxism, with its violent and socially divisive persecution of the bourgeoisie.

6. Friedrich A. Hayek biography
If any twentieth-century economist was a Renaissance man, it was Friedrich Hayek. He made fundamental contributions in political theory, psychology, and economics. In a field in which the relevance of ideas often is eclipsed by expansions on an initial theory, many of his contributions are so remarkable that people still read them more than fifty years after they were written...

5. Opportunity Cost, by David R. Henderson
The word "opportunity" in "opportunity cost" is actually redundant. The cost of using something is already the value of the highest-valued alternative use. ..

4. Mercantilism, by Laura LaHaye
Mercantilism is economic nationalism for the purpose of building a wealthy and powerful state. Adam Smith coined the term "mercantile system" to describe the system of political economy that sought to enrich the country by restraining imports and encouraging exports...

3. Phillips Curve, by Kevin D. Hoover
The Phillips curve represents the relationship between the rate of inflation and the unemployment rate...Phillips found a consistent inverse relationship: when unemployment was high, wages increased slowly; when unemployment was low, wages rose rapidly.

2. Adam Smith biography
Today Smith's reputation rests on his explanation of how rational self-interest in a free-market economy leads to economic well-being. It may surprise those who would discount Smith as an advocate of ruthless individualism that his first major work concentrates on ethics and charity...

1. Keynesian Economics, by Alan S. Blinder
Keynesian economics is a theory of total spending in the economy (called aggregate demand) and its effects on output and inflation...

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COMMENTS (2 to date)
Jon Murphy writes:

I used the CEE while studying for my PhD macroeconomics comprehensive exam this past summer. The entries on the various macroeconomic schools of thought (Keynesian, monetarism, Austrian, etc) were indispensable. The overviews were short but thorough; exactly what I needed.

Phil M writes:

I assign articles in the CEE to students in my economics courses. I also read the articles when I need a primer on something I'm unfamiliar with. My favorite is Armen Alchian's "Property Rights."

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