Speaker Series Archive

Spring 2020

POSTPONED – Dr. Michael Johnston – How to Be Corrupt Without Breaking Any Laws: Legal Corruption in America
Tuesday, April 21, 1:40 p.m.

Dr. Michael Johnston is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. He is a nationally recognized expert on corruption in the public sector and the relationship between corruption, democracy, and political transparency. Dr. Johnston’s talk at UCA is on “legal corruption” in America. Legal corruption consists of practices that most people would consider corrupt or ethically questionable, but are not technically illegal or are constitutionally protected. He will also discuss how legal corruption has a damaging effect on democratic participation.

Fall 2019

Nan Alexander Doyal – Dig Where You Are: How One Person’s Effort Can Save a Life, Empower a Community, and Create Meaningful Change in the World
Tuesday, November 5, 1:40 p.m., College of Business Auditorium 

Nan Doyal will speak about her book, Dig Where You Are, which introduces us to seven men and women who have solved some of the biggest challenges facing our societies today. From the slums of Mumbai, the villages of Tibet and northeast Thailand, the inner cities of Philadelphia and San Francisco, and a ghetto outside Stockholm, Dig Where You Are tells of an artist, a surgeon, a teacher, a criminologist, an economist, a community organizer and a general physician each of whom saw a way beyond suffering and injustice, took responsibility for the wellbeing of others and ended up transforming lives and communities across the world.

Dr. Alicia Plemmons – Occupational Licensing: Effects on Firm Entry and Employment
Tuesday, November 19, 1:40 p.m., College of Business Auditorium

Dr. Alicia Plemmons is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Economics & Finance Department at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She is also an applied microeconomist with a concentration in Public, Urban, and Labor Economics. Her research uses applied spatial and econometric methods to understand how policy changes affect labor markets.

Spring 2019

Rachel Ferguson – Black Liberation in the Marketplace
Friday, March 8, 12:30 p.m., Room 106 in Bear Hall

Dr. Rachel Ferguson will speak about the lasting harms caused by US government’s exclusion of blacks from secure property rights, freedom of employment contracts, and asset acquisition. She will also discuss how building a personal brand is not just about finding what you have to offer but also your ability to appreciate other’s brands and roles that may be very different from yours.

Art Carden – Free the Prices: How Public Policies Hurt The People They’re Supposed to Help
Tuesday, March 12th, x-period, 1:40-2:30, Room 100 in the College of Business
Dr. Art Carden will speak on how supply and demand analysis can help us see how different public policies have negative unintended consequences. In particular, price ceilings and price floors, restrictions on immigration, tariffs, regulations, and all sorts of other public policies often end up hurting some of the people they are trying to help.

Fall 2018

Nate Jensen – The Politics of State and Local Economic Development
November 13, 2018 – College of Business Auditorium – 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Nathan Jensen is a Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas-Austin. He teaches courses and conducts research on government economic development strategies and business-government relations, among other things. He is the author of a book Incentives to Pander: How Politicians Use Corporate Welfare for Political Gain, which explains the political incentives for economic subsidies.

Olivia Gonzalez – Arkansas’s Fiscal Health and Ranking
November 29, 2018 – College of Business Auditorium – 1:40 – 2:30 p.m.

Olivia Gonzalez is the co-author of a report titled “Ranking of the States by Fiscal Condition.” This report measures how well each state can meet short-range and long-range spending expectations. She is a research associate at Mercatus and her research focuses on public finance issues and economic development, among other things. Gonzalez has authored numerous policy briefs on state and local policy, and her work has been cited in various media outlets, including US News & World Report, the Tribune News Service, Real Clear Policy, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Spring 2018

Marcus Witcher – Why History? Important Lessons for Everyman and Everywoman. Yes, Even Business Students
March 6, 2018 – College of Business Auditorium – 1:40 – 2:30 p.m.

Marcus Witcher earned his B.A. in history from the University of Central Arkansas, his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama, and is a visiting professor at West Virginia University. Dr. Witcher studies political, economic and intellectual history from 1920 to the present. His specialization is Modern American Conservatism and his completed manuscript is titled Getting Right With Reagan:Conservatives and the Fortieth President, 1980-2016. His interests include conservatism, the Cold War, economic history, and how memory shapes our political discourse. You can watch his full lecture and Q&A here.

Stephen Slivinski – Occupational Licensing and Recidivism in Arkansas
March 27, 2018 – College of Business Auditorium – 1:40 – 2:30 p.m.

Stephen Slivinski, a senior research fellow at the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty at Arizona State University, will be speaking to UCA students on March 27 about the link between occupational licensing burdens and crime recidivism. Slivinski is the author of “Turning Shackles Into Bootstraps: Why Occupational Licensing Reform Is The Missing Piece of Criminal Justice Reform” which examines this issue on the national level. Slivinski concludes that a state’s occupational licensing burdens are second only to its overall labor market conditions in effecting changes in recidivism rates.

Fall 2017

Dr. Dick Carpenter – License to Work: The Burdens of Occupational Licensing

Dr. Dick Carpenter serves as a director of strategic research for the Institute for Justice. His work has appeared in numerous academic journals and the results of his research have been quoted in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. As an experienced researcher, Carpenter has presented and published on a variety of topics ranging from educational policy to the dynamics of presidential elections. ACRE hosted an x-period talk on November 16 for Dr. Carpenter, where he discussed occupational licensing laws that make finding employment and expanding businesses difficult for Arkansans. You can watch his full lecture and Q&A here. While he was visiting, he also had the chance to appear on several radio shows to discuss his work. He called in for interviews on both the Dave Elswick Show and the Paul Harrell Program on November 13th and 14th. He concluded with an in-studio interview on the Doc Washburn Show after his visit to UCA on November 16th.

Ms. Angela Erickson – Civil Asset Forfeiture in Arkansas and Beyond

ACRE hosted Ms. Angela Erickson, former senior research analyst at the Institute for Justice, on September 19 during x-period to discuss how civil asset forfeiture impacts the nation and Arkansas. Erickson was able to highlight ACRE research on civil asset forfeiture laws including information from 2010 to 2015, nearly $45 million in cash was seized in Arkansas, not including the value of other assets like cars, jewelry, or gaming stations seized. You can watch her full lecture and Q&A here!

Spring 2017

Ms. Darwyyn Deyo – Measuring the Effect of Occupational Licensing on Quality in Arkansas.

On April 13, ACRE will host Ms. Deyo, a law and labor doctoral economics candidate at George Mason University for a talk on “Measuring the Effect of Occupational Licensing on Quality in Arkansas.” Deyo’s primary research fields are health economics and the economics of crime. She holds a Masters in Economics from George Mason University and a Bachelors of Science in Economics from Saint Mary’s College of California. She is currently a research fellow with the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute and an affiliate scholar with the Center for Microeconomics Policy Research at George Mason University. This talk will be held from 1:40pm – 2:30 pm in the College of Business auditorium.

Mr. Ilya Somin – Democracy and Political Ignorance

On March 30, Ilya Somin, a law professor from George Mason University, will be speaking as part of ACRE’s Distinguished Speaker Series on “Democracy and Political Ignorance.” Somin’s research interests include democracy and political knowledge, federalism, and property rights. He is the author of Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter and The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain. He has been published in the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the Northwestern University Law Review, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and USA Today. This talk will be held from 1:40pm – 2:30 pm in the College of Business auditorium.

Fall 2016

Mr. Adam Bates, Mr. Dan Greenberg, and Ms. Maleka Momand – Civil Asset Forfeiture Panel

On November 17, ACRE hosted a panel on Civil Asset Forfeiture in the College of Business. Adam Bates began the panel by explaining what asset forfeiture is and discussing its national use and impact. Maleka Momand followed up with her research on Arkansas specific forfeiture. Dan Greenberg closed with talking about asset forfeiture from a legislative perspective and talking about how students and community members could get involved in ending asset forfeiture. The panel was very well attended and the three speakers received many questions from students and community members who wanted to learn more.

Adam Bates is a policy analyst with Cato’s Project on Criminal Justice. His research interests include constitutional law, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, police militarization, and overcriminalization. Bates received a BA in Political Science from the University of Miami, where he also walked onto the Miami Hurricanes football team, and both an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and a J.D. from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the Oklahoma bar.

Dan Greenberg is the president of the Advanced Arkansas Institute, a free market think tank in Little Rock, Arkansas. He received his J.D. from the William H. Bowen school of Law at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock and is  a former member of the Arkansas House of Representatives (2006-2011).

Maleka Momand is a student research fellow with ACRE and a Senior in the honors college at UCA. After graduating in December of 2016 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies, she intends to pursue a career promoting economic and civil liberty. Her research interests include property rights, classical liberalism, and continental philosophy.

Ms. Nicole Kaeding – A Road Map to Tax Reform

Ms. Nicole Kaeding is an economist with the Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation. She gave a talk on Arkansas tax policy at UCA on November 16 at 11:00 am in the College of Business auditorium.

Previously, Nicole was a budget analyst for the Cato Institute focused on federal and state fiscal policy, and the state policy manager for Americans for Prosperity Foundation where she oversaw the policy activities of AFPF’s 34 state chapters. Nicole’s work has been featured in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, National Review Online, and numerous other national, state, and local publications. She graduated from DePaul University with a Master’s degree in Economics and Policy Analysis, and completed her undergraduate studies at Miami University majoring in Finance and Political Science. Nicole participated in the year-long Koch Associate Program and was a National Review Institute Washington Fellow. Prior to moving to Washington, DC, Nicole managed retail banking locations for seven years in Indiana and Illinois. Nicole lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two children.

Dr. Jason Brennan – The Ethics of Voting: How to Vote Well and Why Most People Don’t 

Dr. Jason Brennan, author of The Ethics of Voting, gave a talk over the morality of controversial “taboo” markets on October 27 during x-period in the College of Business auditorium. That evening he gave another talk at a co-hosted event with ACRE  and the Campus Election Engagement Project: “How to Vote Well and Why Most People Don’t.” Brennan spoke about some of the dangers to democracy caused by uninformed and misinformed voters and other ways besides voting that individuals are able to exercise civic virtue. The event was open to students, faculty, and the public.

Dr. Brennan is Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Chair and Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He specializes in politics, philosophy, and economics. He is the author of Against Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2016), Markets without Limits, with Peter Jaworski, Compulsory Voting: For and Against, with Lisa Hill, Why Not Capitalism?, Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know, The Ethics of Voting, and, with David Schmidtz, A Brief History of Liberty.

Spring 2016

Dr. Adam Smith

Dr. Smith was invited to UCA to be the keynote speaker at our annual colloquium. While he was here we also had him speak to two different political science courses taught by Dr. Heather Yates, assistant professor of political science. In her Interest Groups and Money in Politics class, he lectured on the Bootleggers and Baptists Theory of Regulation with a specific focus on the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act. In Yates’ Introduction to American Politics/Government course, he discussed special interests and regulation more generally.

Smith is assistant professor of economics at Johnson & Wales University and the director of the Center for Free Market Studies at the university. Smith’s fields of interest within economics are political economy, experimental economics, and conflict analysis. He is co-author of the book, Bootleggers and Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics (Cato Institute, 2014) and has published articles in several peer-reviewed publications including the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, the European Journal of Political Economy, Social Choice & Welfare, and Public Choice, as well as Regulation magazine. In addition, he is a visiting scholar with the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University.

Scott Drenkard

Mr. Drenkard was asked to speak on Arkansas tax policy. He gave a speech to students, faculty, and local community members titled “Arkansas Tax Policy: Are We Competitive?” He educated attendees on how the Arkansas tax system works and on reasons why Arkansas has some of the highest taxes of any state. Drenkard’s talk was also filmed and shared with those who were interested but could not attend.

Drenkard is the director of state projects for the Tax Foundation and a co-author of its annual State Business Tax Climate Index. He also edited the 2013 and 2014 editions of the popular handbook, Facts and Figures: How Does Your State Compare? He and the Center for State Tax Policy were highlighted in the trade publication State Tax Notes as “most influential in state tax policy” from 2011 to 2013. His analysis has been featured hundreds of times in media outlets across the country, including the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Post, NPR, State Tax Notes, and the peer-reviewed Journal of State Taxation.

“Arkansas Tax Policy: Are We Competitive?” with Scott Drenkard of The Tax Foundation. Click to watch video

Dr. Alexander Salter

Dr. Salter was invited to be our key speaker at the Sound Money Forum. He delivered a lecture on “Money and the Rule of Law: How Money Mischief Makes Us Poorer and Less Free” and participated in a panel discussion titled “The Past, Present, and Future of Money.” The Sound Money Forum was also our first time video recording our speaker series so that we can archive and share the events with those who can’t physically attend.

Salter is on faculty at the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. He received his PhD at George Mason University and wrote his dissertation on “Essays on the Political Economy of Monetary Institutions and Policy.” His research interests are monetary institutions, policy, and the economics of governance. Salter is the Comparative Economics Research Fellow at Texas Tech’s Free Market Institute. Prior to Texas Tech, he taught at Berry College in the Campbell School of Business.

Sound Money Forum: “Money and the Rule of Law” with Dr. Alexander Salter Click here to watch

Sound Money Forum: “The Past, Present, and Future of Money” with Dr. Alexander Salter, Dr. Jeremy Horpedahl and Mr. Greg Kaza. Click here to watch

Fall 2015

Wes Kemp

This speaker is an example of a collaboration with other UCA faculty. We worked with Dr. Doug Voss, associate professor of logistics and supply chain management, to bring in Mr. Wes Kemp. Working with Voss allowed us to extend a personal invitation to a busy executive and to cross market the program to students in the logistics and supply chain management program. Kemp’s talk “Back to the Classroom: A CEO’s Return,” is based on a course he designed after his retirement to teach students about the principles and ethics of free-market capitalism. He spoke with students about examples of the effects of regulation and deregulation throughout his career. As a successful businessman, Mr. Kemp was able to show students the practical consequences of the legislation that they normally only have the opportunity to learn about theoretically.

Kemp is the former president and chief executive officer for the trucking company ABF Freight System, having retired in 2012. He joined ABF as a management trainee in 1969 upon graduating from the University of Arkansas with a BSBA management degree. He also completed the executive education program at Northwestern University in advanced transportation and logistics management and held a variety of positions during his 42-year ABF career, including senior vice president of operations, vice president of terminal operations, regional vice president of operations, and director of engineering.

Dr. Lauren Hall

Our second speaker for the year was Dr. Lauren Hall. She was invited primarily to be a faculty member at the Exploring Liberty Weekend seminar but we asked her to come in a few days early so that we could feature her in several events. In her on campus talk “Women Can’t Have It All Because No One Can,” she discussed the importance of recognizing the trade-offs that women and men face in life and in the labor market, as well as the negative unintended consequences of many laws designed to help women, especially those regarding mandated maternity & paternity leave policies. Hall also participated in a paper workshop on her work, “The Alpha and Omega of Health Care: Third Ways in Birthing and Dying” where she examines and critiques the medicalization of beginning and end-of-life care. The workshop was attended by UCA faculty Dr. Edward Powers, associate professor of sociology and criminology, several Honors College students in pre-medical fields, ACRE staff, and our student research fellows.

Hall is an associate professor of political science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She authored the book “Family and the Politics of Moderation” and was the co-editor of a volume on the political philosophy of French political thinker Chantal Delsol. She has written extensively on the classical liberal tradition, including articles on Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, and Montesquieu. She serves on the editorial board of the interdisciplinary journal Cosmos + Taxis, which publishes on spontaneous orders in the social and political worlds. Her current research is on the politics of women and the family in classical liberalism, and she also writes on related areas in evolutionary theory and bioethics.

Dr. Steve Gohman

Dr. Gohman gave the first talk of the year on “The Case of the Missing Breweries,” where he discussed how the low number of breweries in the South is related to state beer laws, taxes, and anti-alcohol groups’ influence.  It was a great introduction to our Bootleggers & Baptists themed year and while he was in town, ACRE policy analysts and affiliated scholars also arranged for him to meet with a local Arkansas craft brewer to learn more about how our state regulations hamper his ability to expand his business. Lastly, we held a paper workshop for Gohman on a working paper entitled “Productive versus Unproductive Entrepreneurship: Industry Formation and State Economic Growth.” It was attended by relevant UCA faculty, ACRE staff, and our student research fellows. It provided an opportunity for the participants to preview and comment on on-going research and gave Gohman a thoughtful audience that provided constructive feedback on a work in progress.

Gohman has been a faculty member in the Department of Economics in the University of Louisville’s College of Business since 1988. He received his PhD in economics from North Carolina State University and did post-doctoral work at Duke University. In 2009, he became the BB&T Professor of Free Enterprise and the Director of the John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise in 2015. He researches how policy impacts individual decision making in the areas of entrepreneurship, health economics, information technology acceptance, and the economics of beer. He has published over 60 academic articles and has been featured in numerous media outlets including the Wall Street Journal and the Atlanta Constitutional Journal.