About me

aquariumI’m Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Political Economy and Moral Science at University of Arizona.

My main research interests are public choice, institutional economics, and varieties of capitalism. My papers, books and conference presentations currently fall mainly in two larger research projects: (1) The political economy and institutional theory of polycentric governance. (2) The performance of alternative capitalist systems and the problem of economic disequilibrium. In the first category, I am the co-author of one of the most widely cited papers on the history and definition of “polycentricity”, and I have several other papers that apply the concept to specific topics: democracy as co-production of rules, the institutions of the scientific community, ecological resilience, the resilience of the banking sector, the stability of the financial system, and federalism under highly imperfect Tiebout competition. In the second category, I have authored and co-authored several papers and a book on applying the rent-seeking model to understand different types of capitalism, methodology papers on how to use statistical methods to build taxonomies of economic systems and evaluate the consequences of constitutions, and theory papers on entrepreneurship, economic disequilibrium, the capacity for collective learning under alternative institutions, and the role of ideas in driving institutional changes.

cover  ElinorOstrom3  Capitalist Alternatives, COVER

I have published papers in American Political Science Review, Governance, Business and Politics, Comparative Economic Studies, Kyklos, Public Choice, Constitutional Political Economy, Journal of Institutional Economics, Review of Austrian Economics, and others. I’m the author of Elinor Ostrom: An Intellectual Biography (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017), Understanding Capitalism: An Introduction to Political Economy (Polity Press / Wiley, under contract), co-author with Paul Dragos Aligica of Capitalist Alternatives: Models, Taxonomies, Scenarios (Routledge, 2015), co-author with Paul Dragos Aligica and Peter Boettke of Public Governance and the Classical Liberal Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2019), and co-editor with Jayme Lemke of Elinor Ostrom and the Bloomington School: Building a New Approach to Policy and the Social Sciences (Agenda Publishing / Columbia University Press, 2021).

I’m currently in the process of writing The Allure of the Liberal Dictator (2 volumes of Cambridge Elements, under contract with Cambridge University Press) with Andrew Farrant, and Understanding Capitalism: An Introduction to Political Economy (under contract with Polity Press).

I’ve previously been assistant professor of economics at Dickinson College from 2015 to 2019. I have a PhD in economics from George Mason University (2015), where I was also a Mercatus Center Graduate Research Fellow. I have a physics bachelor degree (2003) and a plasma physics master degree (2005). I have worked at the Center for Institutional Analysis and Development in Bucharest, Romania for five years (2007-2011).

At University of Arizona I’m teaching Foundations of Economics, Capitalism and Socialism, Law and Economics, History of Economic Thought in the PPEL major. At Dickinson College I have taught microeconomics (principles and intermediate), and various electives on political economy, entrepreneurship, institutional and development economics, and statistical methods.