Randall Holcombe Archive

Randall G. Holcombe is Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University, past President of the Public Choice Society, and past President of the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics.
Full Biography and Recent Publications

Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?



Presidential candidate Marco Rubio says, “I believe that sexual preference is something that people are born with,” but goes on to say, “I don’t believe same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.” Let’s consider both of these ideas from a political perspective. First, whether people choose their sexual orientation or are born with it is...
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The Costs and Benefits of Ethanol



Here’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation on how much the mandate to require ethanol in motor fuel costs consumers, and benefits farmers. This article notes that in 2000 about 5% of the corn crop went to the production of ethanol, and by 2013, 40% of the corn crop was devoted to ethanol production. The increased demand...
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University Responsibility for Sexual Assault



“The Hunting Ground,” a movie about sexual assault at major universities, supports the argument that universities are not doing enough to respond to accusations about sexual assault by their students. The article hits close to home for me because, as a faculty member at Florida State University, my university is one of the ones...
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Florida’s Fiscal Policy: Responsible State Budgeting



I’ve written a study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University on Florida’s state government fiscal policy, which can be accessed here. The bottom line is that in an era of growing government and fiscal irresponsibility, Florida’s state government has a record of fiscal responsibility dating back two decades. Both state government expenditures...
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Controlling the Regulatory State



People tend to think about big government in terms of taxes and government spending. Big governments are the ones that have high taxes and big expenditure programs. Government regulations are a major component of big government, and the regulatory state often leads to more oppressive and more corrupt government than big spending. Consider, for...
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Are Falling Prices a Bad Thing?



Popular opinion seems to be that falling prices—or even stable prices—are bad for the economy, but I’ve never seen any good arguments about why. I’ve just read another article about this, that gives six clearly numbered reasons, so let’s look at what the article says to see if they hold up.

Self Censorship



One by-product of the Paris terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo was an outpouring of support for freedom of speech. While there was general agreement that the magazine’s content has been, beyond a doubt, offensive to some (and not only Muslims), almost everyone agreed that freedom of speech is a fundamental right that should be...
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One Benefit of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press...



... is that you know who your enemies and opponents are. They will speak out against your ideas, your actions, or maybe just you on a personal level. One reason we value these freedoms is that they help make those in power accountable. Those who disagree with particular policies or actions can say so...
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Putin’s Collapsing Russia



Vladimir Putin, who worked for the Soviet Union’s KGB from the time he graduated from college through the Soviet Union’s dissolution, obviously is nostalgic for the days in which the Soviet Union was regarded as one of the world’s two superpowers, as it was when Putin joined the KGB in 1975. When Putin first...
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Normalizing Relations with Cuba: Good Policy



President Obama announced that the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba, which is a good move for both countries. The economic impact of the policy will be limited, however, because the economic embargo the United States has imposed on Cuba can be removed only by Congress. This presents the obvious political...
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