Perverse Incentives in Science: 21st Century Funding for 20th Century Research

The Paradigm Shift Not long ago I was working with my occasional co-author, an associate dean in the school of economic, political and policy sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, on creating a campus research institute focused on spontaneous orders. That is a field that attempts to explain how social order emerges from … Continue reading “Perverse Incentives in Science: 21st Century Funding for 20th Century Research”


A New Era: The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

Last year, the Pope Center’s Board of Directors decided that there was too much confusion between the Center and the John W. Pope Foundation, a private grant-making foundation in Raleigh, North Carolina. It concluded that a name change was in order. The name chosen was the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. James G. Martin is the former governor … Continue reading “A New Era: The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal”


The Novel A Theory of Nothing Says Something

The college novel is a staple of Anglosphere literature; academia is an especially target-rich environment for social critics and satirists. Yet, the best-selling college novels usually aim at a relatively small subset of that environment. Most merely use the campus as a backdrop for stories that could take place almost anywhere: coming of age stories, … Continue reading “The Novel A Theory of Nothing Says Something”


Pokémon Go Is Booming on Campus, and That’s a Good Thing

On the surface, Pokémon Go players appear to be zombified millennials walking aimlessly, eyes fixed on their cellphones. But in reality they are engaging with a new community of young adults who are embracing a healthy, stimulating, and socially beneficial technology. The game, which has become a global sensation, brings out the best in those … Continue reading “Pokémon Go Is Booming on Campus, and That’s a Good Thing”


The American Anthropological Association Barely Defeats “Boycott Israel” Resolution

In an article I wrote for the Pope Center last year, I explained how my academic field, anthropology, is increasingly dominated by activists who want to use it for their political purposes. In keeping with that trend, last year, a task force of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) passed a resolution calling for the association … Continue reading “The American Anthropological Association Barely Defeats “Boycott Israel” Resolution”


The Private Student Lending Industry’s Death Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Mark Twain’s famous quip about the rumors of his demise applies to the private higher education lending industry. Many people think that because Congress did away with the nominally private Federal Family Education Loan Program in 2010 and the Education Department’s Federal Direct Loan Program has been mushrooming, the private lending business must be dead, … Continue reading “The Private Student Lending Industry’s Death Has Been Greatly Exaggerated”


UNC-Chapel Hill’s Economics Program Lacks Historical Perspective

A few weeks ago I went camping with some fellow members of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter. Whenever we get together, there is sure to be an impassioned discussion—not just about the Carolina Panthers or the best brands of bourbon, but also American foreign policy and free … Continue reading “UNC-Chapel Hill’s Economics Program Lacks Historical Perspective”


A Meaningful Math Requirement: College Algebra or Something Else?

Most colleges and universities have a math requirement. Students must successfully complete a certain number of math courses (usually just one) to graduate. At many institutions, the requirement is met by passing college algebra (CA). This course studies properties of functions and their graphs with an emphasis on the algebraic and graphical techniques that are … Continue reading “A Meaningful Math Requirement: College Algebra or Something Else?”


Should Employers Be Prohibited from Asking Applicants About College Credentials?

Court decisions can have unintended consequences just as statutes or regulations can. The Supreme Court’s 1971 decision in Griggs v. Duke Power has had a huge impact on higher education, giving the “college for everyone” movement a great but unanticipated boost. The problem is that the lack of a college degree now operates against people … Continue reading “Should Employers Be Prohibited from Asking Applicants About College Credentials?”


Enriching the NCAA Through State Law

Last month, former NC State football player Eric Leak made headlines for giving an unnamed UNC athlete “improper benefits,” in violation of the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAAA). An article in the Raleigh News & Observer explained that Leak was also accused of defrauding former clients and possibly the Medicaid system. Both are … Continue reading “Enriching the NCAA Through State Law”