Carl Menger Essay Contest

The Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, in collaboration with the Foundation for Economic Education and the Charles Koch Foundation, is pleased to announce the fourth annual Carl Menger Essay Contest.

The purpose of the contest is to recognize and encourage undergraduate scholarship in the Austrian tradition and the broadly catallactic approach to social science which it represents, an approach common also to the Scottish Enlightenment of Smith and Hume, the French Liberal School of Say and Bastiat, the Virginia School of Buchanan and Tullock, the UCLA price theory of Alchian and Demsetz, and the Bloomington School of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom, among others. We invite essays that explore, advance, challenge, or apply the ideas of these and related schools of thought.

Submit Your Essay Here



Three winners will each receive $500 conditional on attending and presenting at the Society’s meetings at the Southern Economic Association conference ( The conference is November 22-24, 2014 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA. Accommodations will be provided at the conference hotel and the cost of the SDAE dinner will be covered. Winners are responsible for registration. Travel scholarships may be available.



The contest is open to undergraduate students and recent graduates from any discipline. Entrants must be enrolled in undergraduate coursework at some point during the 2014 calendar year, and must not hold a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree as of January 31, 2014. Those graduating at the end of the spring or summer are eligible. Former winners are not eligible. Former entrants are, but must submit new essays.



Essays must be the sole and original work of the entrant and not previously published. They should be in the format of a scholarly article, with any standard citation format. Essays may either be written specifically for the contest or arise from previous coursework (e.g., term papers, research projects, senior theses, etc.). They should be between 4,000 and 12,000 words long, including notes, abstract, and bibliography.



Any topic related to the themes addressed by the above or related schools of thought is acceptable. Those composing original essays are welcome to address any of the following questions that are of particular interest to the Prize Committee. These are merely suggestions:

1.   The relationship between income inequality and social outcomes have been debated extensively recently in the academic literature and popular press. How can ideas from the Austrian School address inequality?

2.   Among the oldest questions in economics is: why are some nations rich and others poor? How might the ideas of the late Ronald Coase help to better answer that question?

3.   Private alternatives to government fiat currencies have been emerging on the market in recent years. What insights can the catallactic approach to social science bring to bear on this issue?



Essays should be submitted in .doc or .pdf format by September 1, 2014 using the online form here. The author’s name, address, email, phone, and school should appear only on the first page of the document so that submissions may be judged anonymously. Title and abstract should appear on the second page. Questions about the contest can be directed to Emily Skarbek (

Submit Your Essay Here



Three winners will be notified by September 22, 2014. In order to claim their prize money, they must register for, attend, and present their work at the SEA meetings. Winners must arrange their own travel and register for the conference (at the discounted student rate). Three nights’ accommodations at the conference hotel will be paid for by the Society. Presenting the paper at the conference is a key component of the contest, and thus those unable to attend in November are discouraged from submitting an entry.


Questions: If you have any questions please contact Emily Skarbek.


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July/August 2014

The United States' corporate tax burden is the highest in the world, but innovators will always find a way to duck away from Uncle Sam's reach. Doug Bandow explains how those with the means are renouncing their citizenship in increasing numbers, while J. Dayne Girard describes the innovative use of freeports to shield wealth from the myriad taxes and duties imposed on it as it moves around the world. Of course the politicians brand all of these people unpatriotic, hoping you won't think too hard about the difference between the usual crony-capitalist suspects and the global creative elite that have done so much to improve our lives. In a special tech section, Joseph Diedrich, Thomas Bogle, and Matthew McCaffrey look at various ways these innovators add value to our lives--even in ways they probably never expected.
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