Michael C. Munger

Michael C. Munger

Professor of Economics

External Address: 
140 Science Drive, 217 Gross, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708-0204
(919) 660-4301

Professor of Political Science, and Director of the PPE Certificate Program. His primary research focus is on the functioning of markets, regulation, and government institutions. He has taught at Dartmouth College, University of Texas, and University of North Carolina (where he was Director of the Master of Public Administration Program), as well as working as a staff economist at the Federal Trade Commission during the Reagan Administration. He is a past President of the Public Choice Society, an international academic society of political scientists and economists with members in 16 countries. He was North American Editor of the journal Public Choice for five years, and is now a Co-Editor of The Independent Review


  • Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis 1984
  • M.A., Washington University in St. Louis 1981
  • B.A., Davidson College 1980

Guzmán, R. A., and M. C. Munger. “A Theory of Just Market Exchange.” Journal of Value Inquiry 54, no. 1 (March 1, 2020): 91–118. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10790-019-09686-5. Full Text Open Access Copy

Munger, Michael C. “Was Karl Marx a Public-Choice Theorist?Independent Review 24, no. 4 (March 1, 2020): 509–20.

Munger, Michael C., and Mario Vilarreal-Diaz. “The Road to Crony Capitalism.” Independent Review 23, no. 3 (December 1, 2019): 331–44. Open Access Copy

Munger, Michael C. “The State of the First Amendment: 2018.” Independent Review 24, no. 2 (September 1, 2019): 295–305.

Munger, Michael C. “Making the Voluntaryist Venn Work for Us, Not against Us.” Independent Review 23, no. 4 (March 1, 2019): 503–20.

Kiesling, L Lynne, Michael C. Munger, and Alexander Theisen. “From Airbnb to Solar: Toward a Transaction Cost Model of a Retail Electricity Distribution Platform,” January 21, 2019.

Jenke, L., and M. Munger. “Attention distribution as a measure of issue salience.” Public Choice, January 1, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-019-00711-6. Full Text

Munger, M. C. “On the origins and goals of public choice: Constitutional conspiracy?Independent Review 22, no. 3 (December 1, 2018): 359–82. Open Access Copy

Munger, Michael C. “What Is "Actually Existing Socialism"?Independent Review 23, no. 2 (September 1, 2018): 297–99.


Munger, Michael. Is Capitalism Sustainable? Great Barrington, MA: American Institute for Economic Research, 2019.

Munger, M. C. Tomorrow 3.0: The Sharing-Middleman Economy. Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Anomaly, Jonathan, Geoffrey Brennan, Professor of Social and Political Theory Geoffrey Brennan, Michael C. Munger, and Geoffrey Sayre-McCord. Philosophy, Politics, and Economics An Anthology. Oxford University Press, USA, 2015.

Munger, M. The Thing Itself: Essays on Academics, Economics, and Policy. Mungerella Publishing, 2015.

Whaples, R., M. C. Munger, and C. Coyne, eds. Future of the Economy: Fifty Years. Oakland, CA: Independent Institute, 2015.

Munger, M. C., and M. Hinich. Political Economy. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Munger, Michael C. Analyzing Policy Choices, Conflicts, and Practices. W. W. Norton, 2000.

Hinich, MJ, and Munger, MC. Empirical studies in comparative politics. December 1998. Full Text

Hinich, Melvin J., and Michael C. Munger. Analytical Politics. Cambridge University Press, 1997. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9781139174725. Full Text


Couyoumdjian, J. P., and M. C. Munger. “The Entrepreneurial Virtues.” In Perspectives on Character, edited by I. Fileva. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Munger, M. C. “Hayek’s Political Insights: Emergent Orders and Laid-on Laws.” In 40 Years after the Nobel:  F.A. Hayek and Political Economy as a Progressive Research Program, edited by P. Boetke, 2016.

Munger, M. C. “Public Choice Economics.” In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition, 534–39, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.71071-3. Full Text

Munger, M. C. “Editor’s Introduction: The Basic-Income Debate,” 19:485–88. The Independant Institute, 2015.

Munger, M. C. “Coase and the ‘Sharing Economy.” In Forever Contemporary: The Economics of Ronald Coase, edited by C. Veljanovski, 187–208. London: Institute for Economic Affairs, 2015.

Munger, M. C. “Kaldor-Hicks Coercion, Coasian Bargaining, and the State.” In Coercion and Social Welfare in Public Finance: Economic and Political Dimensions, edited by J. Martinez and S. Winer, 117–35. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Munger, M. C. “Political science and public choice.” In The Elgar Companion to Public Choice, Second Edition, 39–53, 2013.

Munger, M. C. “Everything You Know About Recycling is Wrong.” In The Political Economy of Recycling, edited by J. Kuznicki, 2013.

Munger, M. C. ““How to Write Less Badly” (Reprint 2010 article as book chapter).” In Top Ten Productivity Tips for Professors, Edward Elgar Publishers, 2012.

Munger, M. C. “Political Science and Public Choice.” In Elgar Companion to Public Choice II, edited by M. Reksulak, L. Razzolini, and W. Shughart, 81–106. Edward Elgar Publishers, 2012.


Mayer, S. A., and P. Wischmeyer. “Editorial introductions.” Current Opinion in Critical Care, April 1, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCC.0b013e328352c6d6. Full Text

Munger, M. C. “Economic Choice, Political Decision, and the Problem of Limits.” Public Choice: Homo Economicus, Homo Politicus, 2008.

Munger, M. C. “Thinking About Order Without Thought.” Public Choice: Tullock’S Contributions to Spontaneous Order Studies, 2008.

Munger, M. C. “Blogging and Political Information: Truth or ‘Truthiness’?Public Choice: The Power and Political Science of Blogs., 2008.

Munger, M. C. “19th Century Voting Procedures in a 21st Century World.” Edited by W. Shughat and R. Tollison. Public Choice: Public Chpoce Perspectives at the Dawn of the 21st Century, 2005.

Munger, M. C. “Comment on 'Judicializing Politics, Politicizing Law' by John Ferejohn.” Law and Contemporary Problems: The Law of Politics. Duke University School of Law, 2002.

Munger, Michael C. “Political Science and Fundamental Research.” Ps: Political Science and Politics. JSTOR, March 2000. https://doi.org/10.2307/420773. Full Text

Jenkins, J. A., and M. C. Munger. “Investigating the incidence of killer amendments in congress.” In Journal of Politics, 65:498–517, 2003. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2508.t01-3-00012. Full Text

Mellor, W. H., D. Berliner, P. M. Sherman, P. M. et. al., and M. C. Munger. “NC Dental Examiners v FTC, "Scholars of Public Choice Economics in Support of FTC",” 2014.

Munger, M. C. “Idaho Republican Party v Ysursa.” Idaho Gov, 2011.

Munger, M. C. “Libertarian Party, et al v. State, et al.” Southern Coalition for Social Justice, 2009.

Hayward, A., M. Dimino, C. A. Jones, R. J. La Raja, J. Milyo, M. C. Munger, N. J. New, D. M. Primo, and J. Samples. “Brief Amicus Campaign Finance Scholars in Support of Appellant, Citizens United.” Washington, DC: Wilson - Epes Printing Co., Inc, 2002.

Munger, M. C. “Political Parties and Campaign Finance,” April 5, 2000.

Munger, M. C., and F. Bluestein. “Single Prime and Multi-Prime Contracting in North Carolina Public Construction.” Raleigh, NC, September 1994.

Munger, M. C., D. Coates, and V. Heid. “The Disposal of Low-Level Radioactive Waste in America: Gridlock in the States.” St. Louis, MO, 1992.


Munger, M. C. “Success, White Privilege, and Donald Trump.” Learn Liberty, April 18, 2016.

Munger, M. C. “Should You Hire a Private Bodyguard?” Learn Liberty, March 18, 2016.

Munger, M. C. “We Can Never Run Out of Anything.” Learn Library, February 5, 2016.

Munger, M. C. “Libertarians, Democracy, and Rule #1 of Walking on the Wing.” Foundation for Economic Freedom, January 28, 2016.

Munger, M. C. “Customer or Consumer: Michael Munger Responds.” Library of Law and Liberty, January 27, 2016.

Munger, M. C. “The First Rule of Wing-Walking.” Learn Library, January 25, 2016.

Munger, M. C. “Division of Labor.” On-Line Library of Liberty, 2016.

Munger, M. C. “We've Gotta Do Something!.” Foundation for Economic Freedom, December 28, 2015.

Munger, M. C. “We Should Do Something!.” Learn Library, December 7, 2015.

Munger, M. C. “Every Flaw in Consumers Is Worse in Voters.” Foundation for Economic Freedom, November 3, 2015.


Cooper, Alexandra, John Aldrich, John Green, Clyde Wilcox, Michael C. Munger, and Mark Rozell. “2000-2004 Presidential Donor Survey,” October 1, 2013.

Munger, M. C. “The Beauty of the Virtual Discussion Section.” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 11, 2016.

Munger, M. C. “L'Affaire LaCour: What it can teach us about academic integrity and 'truthiness'.” Chronicle of Higher Education, June 15, 2015.

Munger, M. C. “Everything You Know About Recycling is Wrong.” Cato Unbound (On Line Journal, Not Refereed), 2013.

Ordeshook, P., M. Munger, T. M. Lin, and B. Jones. “In memoriam: Melvin J. Hinich, 1939-2010.” Public Choice, January 1, 2011. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-010-9743-1. Full Text

Munger, M. C. “10 Tips on How to Write Less Badly.” The Chronicle of Higher Educaiton, September 6, 2010.

Munger, M. C. “Lean on Your Staff.” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 31, 2010.

Munger, M. C. “10 Suggestions for a New Department Chair.” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 8, 2010.

Munger, M. C. “The Right Kind of Nothing.” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 7, 2010.

Munger, M. C. “Sorry I'm Late.” Chronicle of Higher Education, November 16, 2009.

Munger, M. C. “No Turtles: Faculty-Media Relations.” Chronicle of Higher Education, June 18, 2009.


Should I go to grad school?. Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/should-i-go-to-grad-school/ (2015)


Do you want to be a professor? Are you in grad school, applying, or preparing to apply? Do you ask yourself “should I go to graduate school?” or “should I apply for a PhD program?” If so, then let this video be your guide as Professor Michael Munger of Duke University outlines three “do”s and “don’t”s of grad school.

Why Do We Exchange Things? . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/why-do-we-exchange-things/ (2013)


What can we learn about markets from a WWII POW camp? According to British economist R. A. Radford, POWs found that rather than give away unwanted rations to other POWs, “goodwill developed into trading as a more equitable means of maximizing individual satisfaction.” Professor Michael C. Munger explores what makes exchange more equitable than simply giving gifts.

Giving Away Money Costs More Than You Think . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/giving-away-money-costs-more-y/ (2013)


People and organizations incur costs when they compete for money that is “given” away. For example, if a college offers a scholarship to the student who writes the best essay on a particular subject, students competing for the scholarship will spend time and resources to create their essays and submit their applications. Although the chosen winner will likely benefit from the prize, the other students who competed for the scholarship and lost also lose the time and money they invested in getting the award. The cumulative sum of the time and effort of all the students together may in fact exceed the monetary value of the award.

Why Is the NRA So Powerful? . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/why-is-the-nra-so-powerful/ (2013)


Why is it that organized interest groups such as the National Rifle Association wield such powerful influence in policy discussions? According to Professor Mike Munger, the reason is simple. In politics, small but organized groups win.

What Do Prices “Know” That You Don’t? . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/what-do-prices-know-that-you-dont/ (2013)


According to Prof. Michael Munger, prices (as in, the price of a carton of milk, or a new car) are akin to magic. Prices “magically” convert countless pieces of dispersed, complex information into a single signal that conveys to sellers what they should do to best benefit society. By ignoring the price system, you’re really ignoring the needs of those whom you want to serve.

Externalities: When Is a Potato Chip Not Just a Potato Chip? . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/externalities-when-is-a-potato-chip-not-just-… (2012)


An “externality” occurs when a transaction between two people affects a third person without that person’s permission. Professor Michael Munger illustrates a simple externality problem with potato chips. If Art sells potato chips to Betty, Art and Betty are both better off. However, if Betty crunches her chips loudly enough that it annoys Carl, then Carl has to bear a cost (in the form of annoyance), despite not receiving any benefit from the potato chip exchange. In this example, the volume of Betty’s eating is an externality Carl has to endure.

Should Majorities Decide Everything? . Creator. http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/should-majorities-decide-everything/ (2012)


In this video, Professor Munger reminds us of the difference between democracy and majority rule. Democratic constitutions establish not only the process by which decisions will be made, but also the limits on kind of things can be voted on. This prevents the majority from deciding everything. He warns, however, that these limits on what can be decided democratically have been slowly eroded in American courts of law.

Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two . Actor. https://www.youtube.com/watch (2011)


This hip hop music video, a follow-up to "Fear the Boom and Bust", examines 20th century economists John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek (played by Billy Scafuri and Adam Lustick, respectively) responses to the Great Recession. The central question in the video is whether a successful economy results from a "more bottom up" (i.e. totally free market) or "more top down" (i.e. Economic interventionism) approach.

"Fear the Boom and Bust" a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem . Actor. https://www.youtube.com/watch (2010)


This hip hop music video presents 20th century economists John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek (played by Billy Scafuri and Adam Lustick, respectively) taking part in a rap battle discussing economics, specifically, the boom and bust business cycle, for which the video is named. The video has more than five million views on YouTube.