Bryan Caplan

Senior Visiting Scholar
Bio & Writings CV/Resume

Visiting Senior Scholar to the Salem Center. Professor of Economics at George Mason University and New York Times Bestselling author. Author of The Myth of the Rational Voter, named “the best political book of the year” by the New York TimesSelfish Reasons to Have More KidsThe Case Against Education, and Open Borders (co-authored with Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal’s Zach Weinersmith). His latest project, Poverty: Who To Blame, is now well underway.


  • B.A., Economics, University of California at Berkeley, 1993
  • Ph.D., Economics, Princeton University, 1997

Job History

  • Assistant Professor of Economics, George Mason University, 1997-2003
  • Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University, 2003-2010
  • Professor of Economics, George Mason University, 2010-

Fields of Specialization and Interest

  • Public economics
  • Public choice
  • Psychology and economics
  • Public opinion
  • Economics of the family
  • Genoeconomics
  • Austrian economics

Teaching Experience

  • Introductory Microeconomics (undergraduate)
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics (undergraduate)
  • Industrial Organization (undergraduate)
  • Labor Economics (undergraduate)
  • Econometrics (undergraduate)
  • Public Choice (undergraduate)
  • Microeconomics (graduate)
  • Econometrics (graduate)
  • Macroeconomics (graduate)
  • Monetary Economics (graduate)
  • Public Finance (graduate)
  • Public Choice (graduate)


  • Public Choice Brown Bag Seminar Organizer, 2000-2003
  • Assistant Director of Graduate Studies, 2004-
  • Public Choice Seminar Organizer, 2006-2008


Media Appearances

  • EconTalk. “Caplan on Discrimination and Labor Markets.” December 4, 2006.
  • Cato Institute. “What Should Be a Culture of Enterprise in An Age of Globalization?” March 29, 2007.
  • BBC Radio 4. “Thinking Allowed: The Rational Voter.” May 2, 2007.
  • WWTC. “Taxpayers League Live with David Strom.” May 19, 2007.
  • BBC Radio 3. “Night Waves.” May 21, 2007.
  • RNN. “Real Politics Live.” May 28, 2007.
  • “‘The Myth of the Rational Voter’ by Bryan Caplan.” May 30, 2007.
  • Bloomberg Radio. “On the Economy with Tom Keene.” June 20, 2007.
  • EconTalk. “Caplan on the Myth of the Rational Voter.” June 25, 2007.
  • C-SPAN2. “Irrational Politics and Free Trade.” July 2, 2007.
  • ABC Radio National (Australia). “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” July 2, 2007.
  • WGNU. “Sloan Ranger Show.” July 3, 2007.
  • Syndicated. “Culture Shocks with Barry Lynn.” July 10, 2007.
  • KSTP. “The Bob Davis Show.” July 16, 2007.
  • WNYC. “Silly Voters: The Brian Lehrer Show.” August 8, 2007.
  • WPR. “Conversations with Joy Cardin.” August 14, 2007.
  • WTVN. “Town Hall Ohio.” August 19, 2007.
  • KOA. “The Mike Rosen Show.” August 20, 2007.
  • WNBC. “News Forum Now.” August 22, 2007.
  • VFH Radio. “With Good Reason.” September 8, 2007.
  • QNN. “America Back on Track with Tony Seton.” September 19, 2007
  • Syndicated. “The Liberated Space.” September 27, 2007.
  • The Intrepid Liberal. “Are Voters Irrational?: An Interview With Economist Bryan Caplan.” October 14, 2007.
  • KVI. “The Bryan Suits Show.” October 16, 2007.
  • KVEC. “The Dave Congleton Show.” December 11, 2007.
  • NPR. “The Bryant Parks Project.” January 17, 2008.
  • KXLY. “Newscope with Mike Fitzsimmons.” February 25, 2008.
  • KABC. “Bob Grant Show.” April 1, 2008.
  • Fox Business Network. “Cavuto.” May 8, 2008.
  • Bloomberg Radio. “On the Economy with Tom Keene.” May 9, 2008.
  • WTOP. “WTOP News.” May 28, 2008.
  • WRKO. “Avi Nelson.” July 26, 2008.
  • CBC. “The Current.” September 10, 2008.
  • CTV. “CTV News.” September 29, 2008.
  • KOGO. “Chip Franklin.” October 9, 2008.
  • ABC. “20/20.” October 10, 2008.
  • WDYT. “The Brain Storm.” October 13, 2008.
  • KOTA. “The Shad Olson Show.” October 17, 2008.
  • KFXR. “Wall St. Shuffle.” July 20, 2009.
  • KFKA. “The Amy Oliver Show.” October 27, 2009.
  • EconTalk. “Caplan on Hayek, Richter, and Socialism.” June 28, 2010.
  • EconTalk. “Caplan on Immigration.” October 4, 2010.
  • “Making Minds Matter.” WNRR. April 4, 2011.
  • NPR. “Marketplace.” April 12, 2011.
  • WBT. April 21, 2011.
  • WERC. “Dan York.” April 22, 2011.
  • CNN Radio Dallas. “Wall St. Shuffle.” April 22, 2011.
  • WPHT. “The Dom Giordano Show.” April 25, 2011.
  • WALR. April 26, 2011.
  • BNN. “Squeeze Play.” April 26, 2011.
  • “The Laura Ingraham Show.” April 28, 2011.
  • “Dresser After Dark.” April 29, 2011.
  • KGO. “Gil Gross.” May 3, 2011.
  • CBC. “The Current.” May 5, 2011.
  • WAMV. May 6, 2011.
  • WCCO. “Michele Tafoya.” May 6, 2011.
  • NPR. “The Madeleine Brand Show.” May 9, 2011.
  • EconTalk. “Caplan on Parenting.” May 9, 2011.
  • “Issues, Etc.” May 11, 2011.
  • Fox News Radio. “Armstrong and Getty.” May 11, 2011.
  • “Dave Rutherford.” May 11, 2011.
  • MSNBC. “Dylan Ratigan Show.” May 13, 2011.
  • BBC World Service. May 15, 2011.
  • WBAL. May 17, 2011.
  • Today FM. “The Last Word.” May 18, 2011.
  • WAQY. “Bax and O’Brien.” May 23, 2011.
  • Talk Radio Europe. May 23, 2011.
  • KTKK. “Mental Self-Defense.” May 23, 2011.
  • TRN. “America’s Morning News.” May 24, 2011.
  • Happenings Radio. “Jackie Gray.” May 24, 2011.
  • Marlow FM. May 24, 2011.
  • “The Dennis Prager Show.” May 25, 2011.
  • Radio New Zealand. May 26, 2011.
  • ABC News. “Matt O’Donnell.” May 27, 2011.
  • BBC. “Women’s Hour.” May 31, 2011.
  • ABC Australia. June 8, 2011.
  • “Santa Claus Unplugged.” June 12, 2011.

Work in Progress

  • The Case Against Education: Why Our Education System Is a Big Waste of Time and Money (book)
  • Education’s Selfish and Social Returns (book documentation)
  • All Paths Lead to Open Borders: The Graphic Novel (non-fiction graphic novel)
  • Poverty: Who To Blame (book)
  • Pragmatic Pacifism: The Realism of Idealism (book)
  • Truce: The Economics, Ethics, and Etiquette of Unequal Achievement (book)
  • “The Gender Gap of Economics: Why Do Men Think More Like Economists?”
  • “The Endowment Effect, the Black Market, and the Foundation of Property” (with Eric Hammer)
  • “Sheepskins for Sheepskins: The Nonlinearity of the Marital Return to Education” (with Nathaniel Bechhofer
  • “Public Opinion, Education, and IQ”
  • “Education as a Signal of Conscientiousness”
  • “Over-Estimating the Social Budget Constraint: A Key to Political Discontent?”
  • “Economic Generations?: A Test of Strauss and Howe’s Generational Hypothesis”
  • “Expectational Equilibria, Democratic Transitions, and the Stability of Private Legal Systems”
  • “Group Interest: The Root of Social Conflict”
  • “Free-Market Keynesianism: Why Free-Market Economists Should Start Being Keynesians, and Keynesians Should Stop Being Statists.”

Dissertations and Theses Chaired

  • Parker Norman. “The Role of ‘Too Big to Fail’ Status in Bank Merger Activity.” Ph.D. Dissertation. Defended 12/3/07.
  • Gerald Prante. “What Does the American Public Believe About Tax Policy?” Ph.D. Dissertation. Defended 4/6/10.
  • David Bieler. “How Incentives and Overpromising By Public Officials Contribute to Cost, Schedule, and Performance Shortfalls in the U.S. Master’s Thesis. Defended 4/15/10. Defense Acquisition Programs.” Masters Thesis. Defended 4/15/10.
  • Kenneth Conrad. “Signals from the Equity and Options Markets for Stock Selection.” Ph.D. Dissertation. Defended 11/28/12.
  • Zachary Gochenour. “The Political Economy of Immigration.” Ph.D. Dissertation. Defended 7/28/14.

Selected Presentations

  • “Rational Ignorance versus Rational Irrationality.” 1999 Public Choice Society Meetings.
  • “What Makes People Think Like Economists?” 2000 Public Choice Society Meetings.
  • “Systematically Biased Beliefs About Economics.” 2000 Southern Economic Association Meetings.
  • “The Idea Trap.” 2001 Public Choice Society Meetings.
  • “The Logic of Collective Belief.” University of Delaware Economics Department Seminar. Fall, 2001.
  • “Sociotropes, Systematic Bias, and Political Failure.” 2002 Public Choice Society Meetings.
  • “The Idea Trap.” University of Oklahoma Economics Department Seminar. Spring, 2002.
  • “Debate with Prof. Peter Boettke: Why I Am Not an Austrian Economist… and Why You Shouldn’t Be Either.” George Mason University Economics Society, 2002.
  • “Do We Underestimate the Benefits of Cultural Competition?” 2004 American Economic Assocation Meetings.
  • “Debate with Prof. Lawrence Iannacone: Is Religion Rational?” George Mason University Economics Society, 2005.
  • “Irrational Politics and Free Trade.” Heritage Foundation, 2007.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Cato Institute, 2007.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Trinity College, 2007.
  • “Debate with Prof. Donald Wittman: Is Democracy a Failure?” George Mason University Economics Society, 2007.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” National Economists Club, 2007.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, George Mason University, 2007.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Yale Center for the Study of American Politics and Yale Law School, 2007.
  • “Majorities Against Utility: Implications of the Failure of the Miracle of Aggregation.” Aggregation in Moral and Political Philosophy Conference. Social Philosophy and Policy Center, Bowling Green State University, 2007.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, 2007.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Department of Economics, University of Virginia, 2007.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Western Hemisphere Affairs, Department of State, 2007.
  • “Plenary Session: The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Public Choice Society Meetings, 2008.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” SXSW Interactive, 2008.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” The World Bank, 2008.
  • “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids.” GMU Economics Society and Foundation for Economic Education.”
  • “Majorities Against Utility: Implications of the Failure of the Miracle of Aggregation.” Colloquium on Collective Wisdom. College de France, 2008.
  • “Why I Love Economics, and You Should Too.” Summer Economics Institute, 2008.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Homo Politicus: Ignorant, Dogmatic, Irrational? Conference on Political Ignorance and Dogmatism. American Political Science Association, 2008.
  • “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids.” Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, George Mason University, 2008.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Noblis, 2008.
  • “Systematically Biased Beliefs About Political Influence.” Public Choice Seminar, George Mason University, 2008.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, 2008.
  • “The Myth of the Rational Voter.” Singapore Civil Service College, 2008.
  • “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids.” Institute of Policy Studies (Singapore), 2008.
  • “Debate with Prof. Robin Hanson: Liberty versus Efficiency.” George Mason University Economics Society, 2009.
  • “Persuasion, Slack, and Traps: How Can Economists Change the World?” Mont Pelerin Society, 2009.
  • “Debate with David Balan: Separation of Health and State.” George Mason University Economics Society, 2010.
  • “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids.” Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, “America and the World” lecture series, George Mason University, 2010.
  • “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids.” Oliver Wyman. 2011.
  • “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids.” Cato Institute. 2011.

Professional Associations
Referee for Public Choice, Southern Economic Journal, Economic Inquiry, Economics of Governance, Eastern Economic Journal, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Social Science History, National Tax Journal, Review of Austrian Economics, Journal of Public Economic Theory, International Review of Economic and Finance, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Social Science Quarterly, Journal of Labor Research, American Political Science Review, American Economic Review, Social Forces, the European Journal of Political Research, Economics and Philosophy, Rationality and Society, Economic Journal, Journal of Public Economics, Constitutional Political Economy, and American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Prizes and Awards

  • Winner of the 2005 Thomas S. Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties.
  • First Place Article, 2006 Templeton Enterprise Awards (with Edward Stringham).

Media Coverage
Research discussed in The Economist, The Financial Times, The Times of London, In These Times, New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The American Prospect, The Guardian, USA Today, The Washington Post, and The Globe and Mail.


Prof. N. Gregory Mankiw
Department of Economics
Harvard University
Littauer Center 223
Cambridge, MA 02138

Prof. David Romer
University of California, Berkeley
Department of Economics
549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880

Prof. Tyler Cowen
Department of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

Prof. Timur Kuran
Department of Economics
Duke University
213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708