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Author

Robert Higgs

Bio: Robert Higgs is an academic researcher from The Independent Institute. The author has contributed to research in topics: Government & Politics. The author has an hindex of 21, co-authored 71 publications receiving 1988 citations. Previous affiliations of Robert Higgs include Seattle University & Lafayette College.


Papers
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Book
01 Jan 1987
TL;DR: Crisis and Leviathan as mentioned in this paper is a thorough analysis of the actual occasions when and the specific means by which Big Government developed in the United States, highlighting the actions of significant individuals.
Abstract: Few topics are as timely as the growth of government. To understand why government has grown, Robert Higgs asserts, one must understand how it has grown. This book offers a coherent, multi-causal explanation, guided by a novel analytical framework firmly grounded in historical evidence. More than a study of trends in governmental spending, taxation, and employment, Crisis and Leviathan is a thorough analysis of the actual occasions when and the specific means by which Big Government developed in the United States. Naming names and highlighting the actions of significant individuals, Higgs examines how twentieth-century national emergencies--mainly wars, depressions, and labor disturbances--have prompted federal officials to take over previously private rights and activities. When the crises passed, a residue of new governmental powers remained. Even more significantly, each great crisis and the subsequent governmental measures have gone hand in hand with reinforcing shifts in public beliefs and attitudes toward the government's proper role in American life. Integrating the contributions of scholars in diverse disciplines, including history, law, political philosophy, and the social sciences, Crisis and Leviathan makes compelling reading for all those who seek to understand the transformation of America's political economy over the past century.

491 citations

01 Jan 1997
TL;DR: The causes of the Great Contraction, the unparalleled macroeconomic collapse between 1929 and 1933, the Great Duration, the twelve successive years during which the economy operated substantially below its capacity to produce, and the Great Escape, generally understood to have been brought about, directly or indirectly, by American participation in World Regime Uncertainty.
Abstract: economic history, and one about which scholars remain in serious disagreement. Perhaps the topic is too big, and its study would be more fruitful if it were broken down into subtopics. Thus, one might consider separately the causes of the Great Contraction, the unparalleled macroeconomic collapse between 1929 and 1933; the Great Duration, the twelve successive years during which the economy operated substantially below its capacity to produce; and the Great Escape, generally understood to have been brought about, directly or indirectly, by American participation in World Regime Uncertainty

207 citations

Book
01 Jan 1977
TL;DR: Competition and Coercion: Blacks in the American economy, 1865-1914 is a reinterpretation of black economic history in the half-century after Emancipation as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: Competition and Coercion: Blacks in the American economy, 1865–1914 is a reinterpretation of black economic history in the half-century after Emancipation. Its central theme is that economic competition and racial coercion jointly determined the material condition of the blacks. The book identifies a number of competitive processes that played important roles in protecting blacks from the racial coercion to which they were peculiarly vulnerable. It also documents the substantial economic gains realized by the black population between 1865 and 1914. Professor Higgs's account is iconoclastic. It seeks to reorganize the present conceptualization of the period and to redirect future study of black economic history in the post-Emancipation period. It raises new questions and suggests new answers to old questions, asserting that some of the old questions are misleadingly framed or not worth pursuing at all.

186 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Robert Higgs1
TL;DR: This article argued that the United States had a command economy during World War II, and that during the war the economy was a huge arsenal in which the well-being of consumers deteriorated.
Abstract: Relying on standard measures of macroeconomic performance, historians and economists believe that “war prosperity” prevailed in the United States during World War II. This belief is ill-founded, because it does not recognize that the United States had a command economy during the war. From 1942 to 1946 some macroeconomic performance measures are statistically inaccurate; others are conceptually inappropriate. A better grounded interpretation is that during the war the economy was a huge arsenal in which the well-being of consumers deteriorated. After the war genuine prosperity returned for the first time since 1929.

151 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors developed a new index of economic policy uncertainty based on newspaper coverage frequency and found that policy uncertainty spikes near tight presidential elections, Gulf Wars I and II, the 9/11 attacks, the failure of Lehman Brothers, the 2011 debt ceiling dispute and other major battles over fiscal policy.
Abstract: We develop a new index of economic policy uncertainty (EPU) based on newspaper coverage frequency Several types of evidence – including human readings of 12,000 newspaper articles – indicate that our index proxies for movements in policy-related economic uncertainty Our US index spikes near tight presidential elections, Gulf Wars I and II, the 9/11 attacks, the failure of Lehman Brothers, the 2011 debt-ceiling dispute and other major battles over fiscal policy Using firm-level data, we find that policy uncertainty raises stock price volatility and reduces investment and employment in policy-sensitive sectors like defense, healthcare, and infrastructure construction At the macro level, policy uncertainty innovations foreshadow declines in investment, output, and employment in the United States and, in a panel VAR setting, for 12 major economies Extending our US index back to 1900, EPU rose dramatically in the 1930s (from late 1931) and has drifted upwards since the 1960s

4,484 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: Prospect Theory led cognitive psychology in a new direction that began to uncover other human biases in thinking that are probably not learned but are part of the authors' brain’s wiring.
Abstract: In 1974 an article appeared in Science magazine with the dry-sounding title “Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases” by a pair of psychologists who were not well known outside their discipline of decision theory. In it Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman introduced the world to Prospect Theory, which mapped out how humans actually behave when faced with decisions about gains and losses, in contrast to how economists assumed that people behave. Prospect Theory turned Economics on its head by demonstrating through a series of ingenious experiments that people are much more concerned with losses than they are with gains, and that framing a choice from one perspective or the other will result in decisions that are exactly the opposite of each other, even if the outcomes are monetarily the same. Prospect Theory led cognitive psychology in a new direction that began to uncover other human biases in thinking that are probably not learned but are part of our brain’s wiring.

4,351 citations

Book
01 Jan 1986
TL;DR: The sources of social power trace their interrelations throughout human history as discussed by the authors, from neolithic times, through ancient Near Eastern civilizations, the classical Mediterranean age and medieval Europe up to just before the Industrial Revolution in England.
Abstract: Distinguishing four sources of power in human societies – ideological, economic, military and political – The Sources of Social Power traces their interrelations throughout human history In this first volume, Michael Mann examines interrelations between these elements from neolithic times, through ancient Near Eastern civilizations, the classical Mediterranean age and medieval Europe, up to just before the Industrial Revolution in England It offers explanations of the emergence of the state and social stratification; of city-states, militaristic empires and the persistent interaction between them; of the world salvation religions; and of the particular dynamism of medieval and early modern Europe It ends by generalizing about the nature of overall social development, the varying forms of social cohesion and the role of classes and class struggle in history First published in 1986, this new edition of Volume 1 includes a new preface by the author examining the impact and legacy of the work

2,186 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a structural theory of racism based on the notion of racialized social systems is proposed, which is based on Fanon's notion of racism as a mental quirk.
Abstract: The study of race and ethnic conflict historically has been hampered by inadequate and simplistic theories. I contend that the central problem of the various approaches to the study of racial phenomena is their lack of a structural theory of racism. I review traditional approaches and alternative approaches to the study of racism, and discuss their limitations. Following the leads suggested by some of the alternative frameworks, I advance a structural theory of racism based on the notion of racialized social systems. "The habit of considering racism as a mental quirk, as a psychological flaw, must be abandoned." -Frantz Fanon (1967:77) he area of race and ethnic studies lacks a _ sound theoretical apparatus. To complicate matters, many analysts of racial matters have abandoned the serious theorization and reconceptualization of their central topic: racism. Too many social analysts researching racism assume that the phenomenon is selfevident, and therefore either do not provide a definition or provide an elementary definition (Schuman, Steeh, and Bobo 1985; Sniderman and Piazza 1993). Nevertheless, whether implicitly or explicitly, most analysts regard racism as a purely ideological phenomenon.

1,873 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Feb 1994-Kyklos
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that in order to understand decision making under such conditions of uncertainty, we must understand the relationship between the mental models that individuals construct to make sense out of the world around them, the ideologies that evolve from such constructions, and the institutions that develop in a society to order interpersonal relationships.
Abstract: Denzau and North argue that ideas matter, and that the way that ideas are communicated among people is crucial to building useful theories that will enable us to deal with strong uncertainty problems at the individual level. Under conditions of uncertainty, individuals' interpretation of their environment will reflect the learning that they have undergone. Individuals with common cultural backgrounds and experiences will share reasonably convergent mental models, ideologies and institutions and individuals with different learning experiences (both cultural and environmental) will have different theories (models, ideologies) to interpret that environment. It is the argument of this essay that in order to understand decision making under such conditions of uncertainty we must understand the relationship between the mental models that individuals construct to make sense out of the world around them, the ideologies that evolve from such constructions, and the institutions that develop in a society to order interpersonal relationships.

1,650 citations