Speaker Series

Spring 2024

January 30: Jamie Bologna Pavlik

Jamie Bologna Pavlik is an associate professor of agricultural and applied economics in the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences and natural Resources at Texas Tech University. Her presentation, The Problem of Political Corruption and How to Fight It, will ask, What is corruption? Why does it matter to economic growth and development? In this talk, Dr. Jamie Bologna Pavlik will discuss the economics of corruption, covering examples of political malfeasance both from across the world and within the United States. In this broad overview, she will highlight how these instances of corruption can have significant detrimental effects on the well-being of an economy. She will also discuss how some countries fight this problem of corruption.

Dr. Bologna Pavlik earned her B.S. degree in business economics from Pennsylvania State University at Behrend and her Ph.D. in economics from West Virginia University, where she received the department’s Best Doctoral Student Award for the 2015-2016 year. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University.


February 29: Daniel J. Smith

Daniel J. Smith, Director of the Political Economy Research Institute and Professor of Economics at the Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University, will discuss Lawlessness at the Fed During COVID-19. No matter how smart or well-intentioned, discretionary central banking is plagued with knowledge and incentive problems. These problems make it systematically unlikely that central bankers can deliver macroeconomic stability. Furthermore, discretionary central banking implicitly violates many of the jurisprudential norms of the rule of law. This lecture examines the knowledge and incentive problems faced by monetary authorities during COVID-19, especially in the Fed’s expansion of extralegal monetary facilities, and how they contributed to our recent inflation. Smith will argue that discretionary central banking can be expected to continue to fail to deliver macroeconomic stability due to the inherent knowledge and incentive problems of discretionary central banking.

Dan also is an Adjunct Professor at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. He previously was the BB&T Professor of Economic Freedom in the Manuel H. Johnson Center at Troy University and taught at Vietnam National University, Hanoi, through a partnership with Troy University. He co-authored Money and the Rule of Law: Generality and Predictability in Monetary Institutions (Cambridge University Press), written with Peter J. Boettke and Alexander W. Salter, and The Political Economy of Public Pensions (Cambridge University Press – Elements Series in Austrian Economics), written with Eileen Norcross. Dan’s research, primarily on monetary institutions, public pensions, term limits, and regulation, has been published in many scholarly journals, including Public ChoiceConstitutional Political Economy, and Economics of Governance. He has also researched the patricians of historic Venice, brawling soccer hooligans, and communities recovering from natural disasters.

March 28: Joy Buchanan

Joy Buchanan is an associate professor of quantitative analysis and economics in Samford University’s Brock School of Business. She teaches data analytics and economics courses. In her presentation, Should You Trust Chat GPT?, Dr. Buchanan will share her research on ChatGPT to demonstrate if or when you should use it.

Dr, Buchanan has published articles in peer-reviewed journals including Labour Economics and Experimental Economics. Her research is in behavioral economics with a focus on applying experimental methods to issues in the labor market. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and other organizations.

Dr. Buchanan holds a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University, Economics, an M.S. in Economic System Design from Chapman University, and a B.A. in Economics and Screenwriting from Chapman University.





Past Speakers

Fall 2023

October 12: David Bernstein 

This past June, the Supreme Court held that the University of North Carolina’s and Harvard University’s preferential treatment of minority (from underrepresented groups) was illegal. This decision sent shockwaves through the academy, government, and private industry, especially because the Court went beyond expected opposition to racial preferences to call into question the entire scheme of racial and ethnic classification that has been widely used throughout American society since the government established these classifications over forty years ago. Professor Bernstein will discuss the Court’s holding and its implications for matters ranging from college admissions to scientific research, drawing from his most recent book, Classified, The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America.

Bernstein holds a University Professorship chair at the Antonin Scalia Law School, where he has been teaching since 1995. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, Georgetown University, William & Mary, Brooklyn Law School, the University of Turin, and Hebrew University. Professor Bernstein teaches Constitutional Law, Evidence, and Products Liability. He is the author of five books, and coauthor of two more. He blogs at the Instapundit.com, the Times of Israel, and the Volokh Conspiracy. He is a graduate of the Yale Law School, where he was senior editor of the Yale Law Journal and a John M. Olin Fellow in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.

October 26: Emily Hamilton 

As an increasing number of households suffer from housing costs that strain their budgets, it’s abundantly clear that barriers to housing construction are causing affordability challenges. In this talk, Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow Emily Hamilton discusses trends in state and local reforms to the regulations standing in the way of housing construction with a focus on policy changes that have been proven to make it feasible to build more housing at more affordable prices. Emily is the Director of the Urbanity Project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Her research focuses on urban economics and land-use policy. She publishes both academic research and policy work. Her writing has appeared in outlets including the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, and she writes an occasional column at Governing. Hamilton has testified before several state legislatures as well as the U.S. House of Representatives. Hamilton serves on the Advisory Boards of Up for Growth and Cityscape, a journal published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She received her PhD in economics from George Mason  University.

November 28 — Michael C. Munger 

Professor Munger will explore the problem of using antitrust law and enforcement to control power and foster innovation in his presentation “Monopoly Power, Political Power, and the Problem of Platforms.” Professor Munger will address how, oftentimes, only a large firm with a reputation can solve the problems of “platforms.” In Munger’s recent books, a “platform” is defined as an entity that reduces the transaction costs of triangulation, transfer, and trust.

Professor Munger received his Ph.D. in Economics at Washington University in St. Louis in 1984. He is currently director of the interdisciplinary PPE Program at Duke University. He has won three University-wide teaching awards (the Howard Johnson Award, an NAACP “Image” Award for teaching about race, and admission to the Bass Society of Teaching Fellows. Munger’s recent books include “Choosing in Groups” (coauthored with his son, Kevin Munger) and “The Thing Itself,” both in 2015. His research interests include the study of the morality of exchange and the working of the new “Middleman Economy.” Much of his recent work has been in philosophy, examining the concept of truly voluntary exchange, a concept for which he coined the term “euvoluntary.” His newest book addresses the sharing economy, and is entitled “Tomorrow 3.0.”

Spring 2023

Nolan Gray – How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix it
Tuesday, February 7, 1:40 p.m. College of Business auditorium

Livestream link

From Los Angeles to Little Rock, conversations are underway across the country about how to remove zoning barriers that have made cities unaffordable, stagnant, inequitable and sprawling. In this talk, California YIMBY research director M. Nolan Gray surveys the evidence and makes the case for land-use liberalization.


Dr. Marcus M. Witcher —  Black Entrepreneurship: Building the Foundation for Freedom
Thursday, March 16, 1:40 p.m., College of Business Room 100

In this talk, Dr. Witcher discusses the efforts by black businessmen and businesswomen, entrepreneurs, mutual aid societies, and voluntary organizations in creating networks of black Americans who contributed to the success of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. He argues that without entrepreneurship and civil society it is unlikely that the CRM would have been successful. He discusses the efforts of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Madam C.J. Walker, The National Negro Business League, the NAACP, the Black Elks, John Johnson, TRM Howard, and others in this talk. It is largely taken from chapter six of his book, Black Liberation Through the Marketplace (co-authored with Rachel Ferguson).

Meg Tuszynski – Economic Freedom: What It Is, and Why It Matters
Tuesday, April 25, College of Business auditorium

What is the proper role of government in a free society? Should it act as an umpire, or an active participant in the economic game? According to Meg Tuszynski, managing director of the Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom, flourishing societies require governments to protect property rights and enforce contracts, but refrain from doing much else.

This isn’t just conjecture. Meg and her team at the Bridwell Institute work each year to update the Economic Freedom of North America and Economic Freedom of the World indices, and conduct research exploring the benefits of free societies. In this talk, Meg will discuss the cornerstones of the indices, detail recent trends in economic freedom at both the country- and state-level, and examine some of the broader impacts of economic freedom.


To see more past speakers, you can view our speaker series archive here.