Today -- July 29th -- is Peter Leeson's birthday, he is 35. Happy Birthday Pete.
Pete was recently named the Duncan Black Professor of Economics and Law at George Mason University, so besides wishinng him a happy birthday, please offer him a hearty congratulations for this honor.
Pete also recently published his 3rd book -- Anarchy Unbound (Cambridge, 2014) -- and the book has received high praise. Consider the following from the backcover of the book:
"In the best tradition of Coase, Peter Leeson shows how, in most surprising times and places, individuals managed to organize their lives and affairs cooperatively without any help from government. The history in this book is fascinating; the economics is powerful; and the writing is beautiful."
Andrei Shleifer, Harvard University
"With compelling arguments and examples from many different times and societies, Leeson shows how bottom-up institutions of governance work and why their results are often better than what governments achieve. The book is fascinating reading for all economists, and will be an eye-opener to many."
Avinash Dixit, Princeton University, author of Lawlessness and Economics
"A lively, insightful, and masterly work. In taking aim at Thomas Hobbes’ view that governments are invariably essential, Leeson invokes historical examples such as the institution of Caribbean pirates and sociological concepts such as social distance. It is rare for an economist to offer riches to social scientists of every stripe."
Robert C. Ellickson, Meyer Professor of Property Law, Yale Law School
His other two books are The Invisible Hook (Princeton, 2009) and Media, Development and Institutional Change, with Chris Coyne (Elgar, 2009). In addition to his books, Pete has published over 100 journals articles, and has edited several scholarly volumes. He has also served for the past several years as the North American Editor of Public Choice.
And at 35, his career is really just beginning. He truly is a gifted mind and a gifted writer --- a great combination to have in building a career as an economists with impact.
James Buchanan described Gordon Tullock as a "natural economist", for those of us who have had the privilege of teaching and working with Pete Leeson --- from Larry Reed at the Mackinac Center when Pete was a HS teenager, to Richard Ebeling at Hillsdale while Pete was an undergraduate, to myself as his graduate teacher and thesis supervisor at George Mason, to Chris Coyne, Ben Powell, Ed Stringham, Virgil Storr, Bob Subrick and others who were fellow graduate students with Pete, to Russ Sobel and Bill Trumbull who worked with Pete at WVU, to Andrei Shleifer who worked with Pete at Harvard, to Gary Becker, Kevin Murphy, Steve Levitt and Jesse Shapiro who worked with Pete at Chicago, and finally to Tyler Cowen and all of us back at GMU who were able to attract Pete back to join the faculty at GMU (and the students he has worked with at WVU and GMU over the years) --- we would say the same thing about him. Not only is he in possession of a creative and penetrating intellect, who has a gift with words -- spoken as well as written -- but he thinks quickly and consistently and persistently as an economist. Pete is a natural economist.
I cannot wait to see what he will produce over the next 35 years!
Happy Birthday to Pete Leeson -- outstanding economic thinker, but also a cherished colleague at GMU, and a dear personal friend to so many of us.