Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

News & Press

Call for papers: Commentaries on Smith/Hume scholarship

EJW invites proposals for critical comments on Adam Smith and David Hume scholarship of the past 20 years, particularly their moral, political, and economic philosophizing and historiography. Authors of commented-on papers will be invited to reply. Here is an opportunity for friends to talk openly about differences in interpretation.

EJW editor Dan Klein has had the pleasure and honor of studying with doctoral students who work on Smith and Hume. Some papers by them, himself, and a few others are listed below. Several of these papers come from a Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization special issue on the liberalism and esotericism of Smith and Hume (the papers ungated are here).

Critical comments on any of the papers listed below would be especially welcome. But we will consider any Smith/Hume scholarship of the past 20 years as target of a proposal.

Please send your idea for a contribution to Jason Briggeman at by November 30, 2021. We aim to publish the symposium in 2022.

Papers on which we especially welcome critical commentary (* denotes more likely to be found controversial or provocative):

*Asher, Kendra H. 2020. Interpretations of Hume’s Footnote on Race. Unpublished paper, SSRN. Link

Bonica, Mark J., and Daniel B. Klein. 2020. Adam Smith on Reputation, Commutative Justice, and Defamation Laws. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Link, Link (JEBO)

Clark, Michael J. 2020. Adam Smith as Solon: Accommodating on the Edges of Liberty, Not Abandoning It. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Link, Link (JEBO)

*DelliSanti, Dylan. 2020. The Dynamism of Liberalism: An Esoteric Interpretation of Adam Smith. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Link, Link (JEBO)

DelliSanti, Dylan. 2021 (forthcoming). Moral Innovation and the Man within the Breast. Adam Smith Review. Link

Diesel, Jonathon. 2021. Two Superiors, Two Jural Relationships in Adam Smith. Adam Smith Review 12. Link

*Diesel, Jonathon. 2020. Adam Smith on Usury: An Esoteric Reading. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Link, Link (JEBO)

*Drylie, Scott. 2020. Adam Smith on Schooling: A Classical Liberal Rereading. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Link, Link (JEBO)

*Drylie, Scott. 2020. Professional Scholarship from 1893 to 2020 on Adam Smith’s Views on School Funding: A Heterodox Examination. Econ Journal Watch 17(2): 350–391. Link

Klein, Daniel B. 2021. Commutative, Distributive, and Estimative Justice in Adam Smith. Adam Smith Review 12. Link

Klein, Daniel B., and Erik W. Matson. 2020. Mere-Liberty in David Hume. In A Companion to David Hume, ed. Moris Polanco, 125–160. Universidad Francisco Marroquin. Link

Klein, Daniel B, Erik W. Matson and Colin Doran. 2018. The Man within the Breast, the Supreme Impartial Spectator, and Other Impartial Spectators in Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments. History of European Ideas 44(8): 1153–1168. Link, Link (HEI)

Martin, Christopher. 2020. Adam Smith and the Poor: A Textual Analysis. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Link, Link (JEBO)

Martin, Christopher. 2015. Equity Besides: Adam Smith and the Utility of Poverty. Journal of the History of Economic Thought 37(4): 559–581. Link

Matson, Erik W. 2020. A Dialectical Reading of Adam Smith on Wealth and Happiness. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Link, Link (JEBO)

Matson, Erik W., and Colin Doran. 2017. The Elevated Imagination: Contemplation and Action in David Hume and Adam Smith. The Journal of Scottish Philosophy 15(1): 27–45. Link

*Matson, Erik W., Colin Doran, and Daniel B. Klein. 2019. Hume and Smith on Utility, Agreeableness, Propriety, and Moral Approval. History of European Ideas. Link (SSRN), Link (HEI)

Merrill, Thomas W. 2015. Hume and the Politics of Enlightenment. Cambridge University Press.

Mueller, Paul D. 2020. Adam Smith on Moral Judgment: Why People Tend to Make Better Judgments within Liberal Institutions. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Link, Link (JEBO)

Murphy, Jon, and Andrew Humphries. 2020. Smith’s Memory Has Misled Him? Some Curious Errors in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Link, Link (JEBO)

*Robinson, John A., and J. Robert Subrick. 2020. Why Did Adam Smith Suggest a Labor Theory of Value? Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Link, Link (JEBO)

EJW welcomes Brendan Beare as co-editor

EJW welcomes UCSD associate professor Brendan Beare to the team as co-editor. Professor Beare grew up in Australia, earned his B.S. from University of New South Wales, and later an M.A. in statistics and a Ph.D. in economics from Yale. Expert in statistical and econometric theory, Beare has published two papers in EJW, and his work also has appeared in Econometric Theory, Econometrica, Journal of Time Series Analysis, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Journal of Mathematical Economics, Econometrics and Statistics, and several other journals. EJW looks forward to working with Professor Beare and thanks him for his support of the project.

Thank you to Garett Jones

Garett Jones has given six years as co-editor, making invaluable contributions to Econ Journal Watch. We are enormously grateful for his generosity, but understand his need to focus on book projects. Look for his next—10 Percent Less Democracy—from Stanford University Press in February 2020.

New publication schedule for EJW

Econ Journal Watch will change its publication schedule to two issues per year, March and September. So the next issue will be that of March 2019.

Who Should Get the Nobel Prize in Economics, and Why? A Call for Proposals

Econ Journal Watch plans a symposium on who should get the Nobel prize in economics, and why. The aim is not to canvass for opinion about who should get the prize, but to generate essay-form appreciations of the work of individual economists.

Send your proposal to write an essay explaining why Person A should receive a Nobel prize in economics to Jason Briggeman (EJW Managing Editor), at We also welcome mere queries in such direction.

Some guidelines:

  • Proposers should be qualified to explain the merit of the work of Person A.
  • As we know, the prize sometimes goes to a person in the social sciences but not strictly economics, and in this project we certainly share that spirit.
  • The essay about Person A could be written by multiple authors.
  • We think it fine if the authors cooperate with Person A in producing and drafting the essay; any such cooperation may go acknowledged or unacknowledged, as the parties involved see fit.
  • The essay should aim to touch on all of Person A’s work, though it is fine of course to focus on the contributions that are especially thought to make Person A worthy of the prize.
  • The essay should be candid about significant shortcomings of A’s most important contributions, and significant criticisms.
  • We welcome proposals about Person A regardless of his or her ideological orientation. Proposers may expect ideological outlook to play no role in approving proposals.
  • We shall need to be selective about the Person A. Although not every Person A needs to be regarded by us as an actually conceivable prospective prize-winner, we do need to regard the Person A as sufficiently eminent, accomplished, or interesting to warrant such attention.
  • The case for Person A may involve justification “outside the box” of what we may think of as normal criteria for a Nobel prize in economics. Such unconventional justification for Person A is not unwelcome, but it may itself call for some justification within the essay.

We aim to publish the symposium in one of the issues of the year 2020.

Econ Journal Watch moves to the Fraser Institute

In 2007 EJW was done the great honor and service of being taken in by Atlas Network (then called the Atlas Economic Research Foundation), thanks especially to the kindness of Alejandro Chafuen, Brad Lips, Romulo Lopez, and the late Leonard Liggio. After ten years of generous support and always excellent assistance from Atlas, EJW is moving under a new roof. EJW will be ever grateful to Atlas for the tremendous help and friendship given to the project. We thank also Atlas friends (present and past) Harry Kalsted and Jim Cardillo.

EJW is honored again to be given the opportunity to move to the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading think tank. The Fraser Institute is one of the great classical liberal organizations, and it is the parent of the Economic Freedom Project led by James Gwartney, Robert Lawson, Joshua Hall, and Fred McMahon; EJW has published numerous articles that make significant use of the index (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). (Here is Fraser's announcement of the partnership.) The move has been facilitated by the Institute’s Executive Vice-President Jason Clemens. EJW is proud indeed to have a partner in the Fraser Institute, and very grateful.

EJW apology to Professor Farley Grubb

From Daniel Klein: In 2006 (vol. 3, no. 2), Econ Journal Watch published an article titled “Farley Grubb’s Noisy Evasions on Colonial Money.” Professor Grubb has lately shared with us his sentiments about that title. EJW is edited so as to allow boisterous give and take (particularly when issuing from commented-on authors), but we at EJW now feel, sincerely, that that title was overly derisive, and that it was unprofessional on our part. We apologize to Farley Grubb for that title, and we are grateful to him for having communicated with his thoughts on the matter.