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

How Valuable Is a Federal Grant?



Sometimes, a federal grant is worthless. The federal government has the ability to attach enough costly provisions to its grants that the net value is less than zero. A recent case in my home town of Tallahassee illustrates this. The Tallahassee Democrat, May 21, page A1 (sorry, no link because a subscription is required)...
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Piketty on Inequality



The ultimate thesis in Thomas Piketty’s Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century is that the return on capital is higher than the growth in output and wages, so the owners of capital will see their wealth, and therefore, incomes, rise faster than those who earn the bulk of their incomes through labor. The distribution of...
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Piketty’s Capital: IV



I’ve made some observations about Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century already, here, here, and here, and in this post want to note the way that the twentieth-century welfare state has contributed to the inequality that Piketty has observed. Piketty observes that growing inequality is the result of the return on capital being...
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Piketty’s Capital: III



In a recent post on The Beacon I argued that what Thomas Piketty called “the first fundamental law of capitalism” in his recent book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, depicted the causal relationship between the value of capital and the return earned by capital backwards. Representing the return on capital as α, the rate...
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Piketty’s Capital: II



Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is well-written and well-researched, as I have indicated already, but it has some fundamental problems with the way it depicts capital. Piketty says “the first fundamental law of capitalism” is that the share of income going to capital, α, is equal to the return on capital, r,...
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Piketty’s Capital: I



Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a surprising best-seller (how many economics books make the New York Times best-seller list?) and has been getting lots of press lately. Reading it, I have some comments and observations, which I will make in a series of posts rather than in one extended review. I’m...
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The Austrian School of Economics



I’ve just published a short book, Advanced Introduction to the Austrian School of Economics, which is designed to give people with some knowledge of economics an explanation of what ideas distinguish the Austrian school from mainstream economic thought. The paperback is relatively affordable ($22.36 if ordered on-line). The book is much slimmer in person...
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Exaggerating the Damage Caused by Climate Change



Here is a link to the abstract of a peer-reviewed article in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. (You may be able to download the full article. I could, from my university computer.) The abstract says, “It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the...
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Joseph Stiglitz: The Price of Inequality



Although Joseph Stiglitz has a reputation as one of the most prominent defenders of big government, I found much to agree with in his book, The Price of Inequality. It does appear to me that throughout the political spectrum, from left to right, there is a substantial consensus that government is the cause of...
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Outside Money in Politics



One complaint about political campaigns is that they are increasingly funded by “outside money” that comes from outside the jurisdictions in which the elections are held. In a recent special election in Florida to fill a seat in the US House of Representatives, $9 million in outside money was spent to influence that election....
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