Thoughts on Fred McChesney

Paul H. Rubin —  8 November 2017 — Leave a comment

Paul Rubin is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Economics at Emory University.

I first met Fred in about 1977, when I presented a paper at Miami and Fred was a student in the Law and Economics program. We thought alike and became friends immediately. After that, I saw Fred in Washington, when I worked at the FTC, and we were colleagues at Emory, where Fred had a joint appointment in Economics and Law. I was also on the Board of the Southern Economic Association two times (VP, 1995 and President, 2013) and Fred was of course the long-time General Counsel of the organization. In 1995, Fred was instrumental in an important change in the structure of the organization. Additionally, of course, we met at numerous meetings and conferences over the years, and Fred invited me to present papers at both Northwestern and Cornell. I always enjoyed Fred’s great if somewhat cynical wit. I knew that Fred’s health was deteriorating, but I was shocked and greatly saddened to learn of his death.

Fred was one of the first joint-degree Law and Economics scholars, and one of the best of his generation. All of Fred’s work was interesting. I found his paper “Commercial Speech in the Professions: The Supreme Court’s Unanswered Questions and Questionable Answers” (University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 1985) most directly useful in my own work, and I cited it several times. His work on rent extraction, including his Harvard University Press book, was of profound importance and was a fundamental contribution to Public Choice scholarship, and to the understanding of political behavior and institutions. I was also pleased to contribute a chapter to the book he edited with Bill Shughart, The Causes and Consequences of Antitrust.

The worlds of Law and Economics and of Public Choice have lost a great scholar, and many of us have lost a great friend.  

Paul H. Rubin

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PAUL H. RUBIN is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Economics at Emory University in Atlanta and formerly editor in chief of Managerial and Decision Economics. He blogs at Truth on the Market. He was President of the Southern Economic Association in 2013. He is a Fellow of the Public Choice Society and is associated with the Technology Policy Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Independent Institute. Dr. Rubin has been a Senior Economist at President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, Chief Economist at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Director of Advertising Economics at the Federal Trade Commission, and vice-president of Glassman-Oliver Economic Consultants, Inc., a litigation consulting firm in Washington. He has taught economics at the University of Georgia, City University of New York, VPI, and George Washington University Law School. Dr. Rubin has written or edited eleven books, and published over two hundred and fifty articles and chapters on economics, law, regulation, and evolution in journals including the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Legal Studies, and the Journal of Law and Economics, and he frequently contributes to the Wall Street Journal and other leading newspapers. His work has been cited in the professional literature over 8000 times. Books include Managing Business Transactions, Free Press, 1990, Tort Reform by Contract, AEI, 1993, Privacy and the Commercial Use of Personal Information, Kluwer, 2001, (with Thomas Lenard), Darwinian Politics: The Evolutionary Origin of Freedom, Rutgers University Press, 2002, and Economics, Law and Individual Rights, Routledge, 2008 (edited, with Hugo Mialon). He has consulted widely on litigation related matters and has been an adviser to the Congressional Budget Office on tort reform. He has addressed numerous business, professional, policy, government and academic audiences. Dr. Rubin received his B.A. from the University of Cincinnati in 1963 and his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1970.

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