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

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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Civic Engagement



My local newspaper, The Tallahassee Democrat, ran a story on March 19 reporting on a talk given by former Florida Governor and former US Senator Bob Graham. In his talk, Graham calls for more civic engagement. His talk was a part of a larger program titled “Choosing to Participate: The Power of Civic Engagement.”...
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President Obama’s Investment Skills



After the Obama administration bailed out General Motors by purchasing a 60.8% ownership share in the company for $49.5 billion, President Obama said, “We expect taxpayers will get back all the money my administration has invested in GM.” (I do like the way the president takes responsibility for the investment.) Now, the president’s administration...
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Intergenerational Transfers and Political Support for the Welfare State



Supporters of the welfare state might see it as a mechanism for transferring income from rich to poor with the idea of helping those at the bottom end of the income distribution, but in the United States, the welfare state is increasingly transferring income from the young to the old, regardless of the wealth...
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Speak Loudly and Carry a Small Stick



At the beginning of the twentieth century, President Teddy Roosevelt’s foreign policy was, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” At the beginning of the twenty-first, President Obama’s policy appears to the the opposite: “Speak loudly and carry a small stick.” President Obama threatened Syria not to step over a “red line” by using...
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