Faculty Directory

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Robert Lawson

Robert Lawson

O'Neil Center

Jerome M. Fullinwider Endowed Centennial Chair in Economic Freedom
Professor of Practice

PhD, Economics, Florida State University, 1992
MS, Economics, Florida State University, 1991
BS, Economics, Ohio University, 1988

Crow 282D


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Robert Lawson holds the Jerome M. Fullinwider Endowed Centennial Chair in Economic Freedom and is director of the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Cox School of Business.  Prior to SMU, he taught at Auburn University, Capital University, and Shawnee State University.  Dr. Lawson is a co-author of the widely-cited Economic Freedom of the World annual reports, which present an economic freedom index for over 150 countries.  Lawson has numerous professional publications in journals including Public Choice, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Cato Journal, Kyklos, Journal of Labor Research, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, and European Journal of Political Economy. Lawson is past-president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute, and a member of the Mont Pelerin Society.  He earned his PhD and MS in Economics from Florida State University and his BS in Economics from the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University. Lawson's research has been cited over 6000 times according to Google Scholar.

Lawson is married to the talented choreographer and writer, Tracy Lawson, and has one daughter. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, running, cooking, and sports of all kinds. Although he is a free-market economist, his favorite team is the Reds.


Economic Freedom
Economic Growth and Development
Public Finance

Recent publications

Gwartney, J. and R. Lawson, and J Hall. 2015. Economic Freedom of the World: 2015 Annual Report. Vancouver: The Fraser Institute.

Lawson, R. and S. Roychoudhury. 2015. "Do Travel Visa Requirements Impede Tourist Travel?" Journal of Economics and Finance.

Powell, B, R. Lawson, A. Nowrasteh, J.R. Clark, and R. Murphy. 2015. “Does Immigration Impact Institutions?” Public Choice.

Lawson, R. and A. Young. 2014. “Capitalism and Labor Shares: A Cross-Country Panel Study.” European Journal of Political Economy 33: 20-36.

Hall, J. and R. Lawson. 2014. “Economic Freedom of the World: An Accounting of the Literature.” Contemporary Economic Policy 32(1): 1-19.


Managerial Economics