Peter J. Boettke

Boettke’s Early Life and Education

Peter J. Boettke [pronounced “Bet-key”] (b. 1960) was born and raised in Rahway, New Jersey. Rahway is a town about halfway between Newark and New Brunswick, directly west of Staten Island.

For his undergraduate work, Boettke initially attended Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania. Later, he transferred to nearby Grove City College. Both Greenville and Grove City are located in the far northwestern part of the state, near the Ohio border.

At Grove City College, Boettke took a course in economics taught by Hans F. Sennholz, a former pupil of Ludwig von Mises.

Boettke received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Grove City College in 1983.

For graduate school, Boettke attended George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC. He received his master’s degree in economics from GMU in 1987.

Boettke wrote his doctoral dissertation, entitled “The Political Economy of Soviet Socialism, 19181928,” under the supervision of Don Lavoie, receiving his PhD in economics from GMU in 1989. The dissertation was published the next year (see “Boettke’s Principal Books” below for details).

Boettke’s Career

After obtaining his PhD, Boettke did brief teaching stints at several different institutions, including Oakland University (in the northern suburbs of Detroit, Michigan), New York University (in the Washington Square neighborhood of Lower Manhattan), and Manhattan College (a Jesuit liberal arts college in the Bronx).

In 1998, Boettke returned to GMU as an associate professor. He was granted tenure at GMU in 2000 and promoted to full professor there in 2003.

Boettke is currently University Professor of Economics at GMU, with an affiliate position in the philosophy department.

Boettke is also co-director (with Christopher J. Coyne) of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (Hayek Program).

The Hayek Program—which is devoted to furthering research and teaching on the best institutional arrangements for establishing free and prosperous societies—is administratively housed at GMU’s Mercatus Center.

Boettke’s Ideas

Boettke is one of the most eminent of the fifth generation of Austrian economists. His academic lineage derives from Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk via Ludwig von Mises, Israel M. Kirzner, and Don Lavoie.

Boettke’s research has been focused mainly on applying the principles of Austrian economics to the problems of development economics.

Boettke has stated that mistaken economic theories have caused much of the terrible suffering experienced throughout the developing world during the twentieth century and up until the present.

An important part of Boettke’s academic work is directed toward the exploration and narration of these highly destructive ideas.

It is only by exposing the immiserating statist doctrines of communism, socialism, Keynesianism, and welfarism to the light of rational thought as articulated by Austrian economics that such seductive but bad ideas can be defeated and prosperity gradually extended throughout the world.

Boettke’s Principal Works

1. Books Authored or Co-authored by Boettke

The Political Economy of Soviet Socialism: The Formative Years, 1918–1928 (1990).

Why Perestroika Failed: The Politics and Economics of Socialist Transformation (1993).

Calculation and Coordination: Essays on Socialism and Transitional Political Economy (2001).

Context Matters: Institutions and Entrepreneurship, with Christopher J. Coyne (2009).

Challenging Institutional Analysis and Development: The Bloomington School (2009).

Institutional Economics: Property, Competition, Policies, second edition, with Wolfgang Kasper and Manfred E. Streit (2012).

Living Economics: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (2012).

The Economic Way of Thinking, 13th edition, with Paul Heyne and David Prychitko (2013).

Applied Mainline Economics: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Public Policy, with Matthew D. Mitchell (2017).

F. A. Hayek: Economics, Political Economy and Social Philosophy (2018).

Public Governance and the Classical-Liberal Perspective: Political Economy Foundations, with Paul Dragos Aligica and Vlad Tarko (2019).

The Four Pillars of Economic Understanding (2020).

The Struggle for a Better World (2021).

Money and the Rule of Law: Generality and Predictability in Monetary Institutions, with Alexander William Salter and Daniel J. Smith (2021).

2. Books Edited or Co-edited by Boettke

The Collapse of Development Planning (1994).

The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics (1994).

The Market Process: Essays in Contemporary Austrian Economics, with David L. Prychitko (1994).

Market Process Theories (two volumes), with David L. Prychitko (1998).

Socialism and the Market: The Socialist Calculation Debate Revisited (2000).

The Legacy of Friedrich von Hayek (three volumes) (2000).

The Legacy of Ludwig von Mises (two volumes), with Peter T. Leeson (2006).

The Economic Point of View: The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner, with Frédéric Sautet (2009).

Handbook on Contemporary Austrian Economics (2010).

Market Theory and the Price System: The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner, with Frédéric Sautet (2011).

Essays on Capital and Interest: An Austrian Perspective: The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner, with Frédéric Sautet (2012).

Competition and Entrepreneurship: The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner, with Frédéric Sautet (2013).

Austrian Subjectivism and the Emergence of Entrepreneurship Theory: The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner, with Frédéric Sautet (2015).

The Oxford Handbook of Austrian Economics, with Christopher J. Coyne (2015).

The Economic Role of the State, with Peter T. Leeson (2015).

Discovery, Capitalism, and Distributive Justice: The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner, with Frédéric Sautet (2016).

Revisiting Hayek’s Political Economy, with Virgil Henry Storr (2016).

Interdisciplinary Studies of the Market Order: New Applications of Market Process Theory, with Christopher J. Coyne and Virgil Henry Storr (2017).

Research Handbook on Austrian Law and Economics, with Todd J. Zywicki (2017).

Competition, Economic Planning, and the Knowledge Problem: The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner, with Frédéric Sautet (2018).

The Essence of Entrepreneurship and the Nature and Significance of Market Process: The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner, with Frédéric Sautet (2018).

Buchanan’s Tensions: Reexamining the Political Economy and Philosophy of James M. Buchanan, with Solomon Stein (2018).

Exploring the Political Economy and Social Philosophy of F. A. Hayek, with Jayme S. Lemke and Virgil Henry Storr (2018).

Comparative Economic Systems, with Paul Dragos Aligica (2018).

Ludwig von Mises: The Man and His Economics: The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner, with Frédéric Sautet (2019).

Reflections on Ethics, Freedom, Welfare Economics, Policy, and the Legacy of Austrian Economics: The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner, with Frédéric Sautet (2019).

Ostrom’s Tensions: Reexamining the Political Economy and Public Policy of Elinor C. Ostrom, with Paul Dragos Aligica and Roberta Q. Herzberg (2019).

The Soul of Classical Political Economy: James M. Buchanan from the Archives, with Alain Marciano (2020).

Exploring the Social and Political Economy of Alexis de Tocqueville, with Adam Martin (2020).

Exploring the Political Economy and Social Philosophy of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom, with Bobbi Herzberg and Brian Kogelmann (2020).