Thoughts on Fred McChesney

Cite this Article
Paul H. Rubin, Thoughts on Fred McChesney, Truth on the Market (November 08, 2017),

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.