Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, and Constitutional Political Economy

25 Pages Posted: 15 May 2014 Last revised: 21 Apr 2018

See all articles by Peter J. Boettke

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Rosolino Candela

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Date Written: May 13, 2014

Abstract

This chapter argues that the ambiguous bifurcation in Frank Knight’s understanding of economics would manifest itself through the divergent paths in the earlier writings of his students Milton Friedman and James Buchanan. It argues that despite Friedman’s stature in the scientific elite of the profession of economics, the stronger argument for the classical liberal order is found in Buchanan’s work. Moreover, we argue that in the later part of Friedman’s career as a classical liberal political economist, his arguments for the free market society moved away from his earlier emphasis on efficiency claims to the broader claims about the institutional framework within which the game of life is played. In short, Friedman came to stress more the arguments of Buchanan concerning the positive analysis of the politics of economic policy, and the constitutional level of analysis for reform.

Keywords: Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, Constitutional Political Economy, Comparative Institutional Analysis, Spontaneous Order

JEL Classification: B3; D83; P5

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Candela, Rosolino, Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, and Constitutional Political Economy (May 13, 2014). In Robert A. Cord and Daniel Hammond, eds. Milton Friedman: Contributions to Economics and Public Policy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 727-740. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2436644 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2436644

Peter J. Boettke (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

Rosolino Candela

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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