It is with great pleasure that I announce that Dan D'Amico successfully defended his dissertation on Tuesday April 22, 2008. Dan is a deep thinker and committed Austrian economist and radical libertarian social thinker. His dissertation addressed the 'imprisoner dilemma'. D'Amico uses economic analysis (market process theory and public choice analysis) to examine and adjudicate the debates in criminal justice. Should our criminal justice system focus on rehabilitation, retribution, or restitution? D'Amico argues that while the literature seems to have settled on proportionality, the political production of criminal justice services fails to live up to that standard.
D'Amico also argues that market provision of criminal justice will comparatively speaking outperform state controlled systems. For his outstanding dissertation work, Dan has also won the Israel M. Kirzner Award for the Outstanding Dissertation in Austrian Economics at GMU. Congratulations to Dan.
In addition to being an economist full of penetrating insights, Dan is an outstanding teacher. We will not only be reading and learning from Dan's scholarship for the next few decades, but I imagine the Austrian community will have D'Amico students running around for years to come. Dan will join with Walter Block at Loyola University of New Orleans next fall and form one of the most promising dynamic duos in the economic teaching ranks. At GMU, I have benefited greatly over the years from students from Hillsdale, Beloit, and Loyola. During my career I would argue that the most effective undergraduate teachers as measured by sending students on to pursue a PhD in economics have included Hans Sennholz, Richard Ebeling, and Walter Block. My prediction is that Dan will follow in that tradition. We will have to change our nickname for Loyola students from "Block heads" to "D'Amico duplicates" and I for one cannot wait to see the students that Block and D'Amico jointly produce at Loyola and the pure fun I will have working with them here in graduate school at GMU.
Please join me in congratulating Dan for his great accomplishment and wishing him well as he embarks on his most promising future as an economist and teacher. On a more personal note, Dan is one of the really 'great guys' who has walked the halls of GMU economics and his intelligence, commitment to truth and justice, and his joyous nature will be missed as he moves on to his own teaching and research career. I know I will miss him very much. However, I am also thrilled that he has found his career path and am fully confident he will not only make his mark in economics, but will make a significant mark on the lives of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of students over the next few decades.