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Where Economics Went Wrong$
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David Colander and Craig Freedman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179209

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179209.001.0001

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Roads Not Taken

Roads Not Taken

The Stillborn Virginia School of Economics

(p.102) 7 Roads Not Taken
Where Economics Went Wrong

David Colander

Craig Freedman

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at the birth of the Virginia School of economics by focusing on two of the approaches developed in Virginia in the 1960s. The first one—named after Ronald Coase—is the Coasian institutionalist approach, which is a clear attempt to maintain the sort of Classical Liberal thought fashioned in an earlier period by Frank Knight. The second one—named after James Buchanan—is the Buchanan political economy approach, which also had a stronger commitment to Classical Liberal methodology than did the Stigler/Friedman/Director version rapidly spreading within the Chicago campus. Neither one became a recognized Classical Liberal standard bearer. Instead, their combined work was seldom considered to be part of any broader mainstream approach that differed significantly in terms of methodology. By the end of the 1960s, the Virginia School was no more.

Keywords:   Virginia School, economics, Ronald Coase, Coasian institutionalist approach, James Buchanan, Buchanan political economy, Classical Liberal methodology

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