Robert Lawson

Robert Lawson

Clinical Professor

Jerome M. Fullinwider Centennial Chair in Economic Freedom
PhD, Economics, Florida State University
MS, Economics, Florida State University
BS, Economics, Ohio University

Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom Business Economics Strategy Strategy and Entrepreneurship





Crow 282D




Robert Lawson holds the Jerome M. Fullinwider Centennial Chair in Economic Freedom and is director of the Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. 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. He previously taught at Auburn University, Capital University, and Shawnee State University. 

Dr. Lawson is a founding co-author of the Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom of the World annual report, which presents an economic freedom index for over 160 countries. Lawson has authored or co-authored over 100 academic publications. With Benjamin Powell, he is co-author of the Amazon Bestseller, Socialism Sucks: Two Economists Drink Their Way Through the Unfree World (Regnery Publishing). Lawson's research has been cited over 12,000 times according to Google Scholar.

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 has won the Adam Smith Award from the Association of Private Enterprise Education.

Personal: Lawson is married to the talented choreographer and writer, Tracy Lawson, and has one daughter, Kerianne, who is an economics professor at North Dakota State University. In his spare time, he enjoys playing vintage base ball, hiking, running, cooking, working on his VW bugs, and watching sports of all kinds. He loves Cincinnati chili, the Bengals, and the Reds.


BUSE 6202 Managerial Economics
BA 6079 Microeconomics


Economic Freedom
Economic Growth and Development
Public Finance


Gwartney, J. and R. Lawson, and J Hall. 2021. Economic Freedom of the World: 2021 Annual Report. Vancouver: The Fraser Institute.

Dean, J. and R. Lawson. 2021. “Who Gains from Economic Freedom? A Panel Analysis of Decile Income Levels.” Economics and Business Letters.

Lawson, K. and R. Lawson. 2020. “Economic Liberalizations Around the World Since 1970: Shock Therapy Versus Gradualism.” Cato Journal 40(3): 665-83.

Lawson, R., R. Murphy, B. Powell. 2020. “The Determinants of Economic Freedom: A Survey.” Contemporary Economic Policy 38(4): 622-42.

Lawson, R. and B. Powell. 2019. Socialism Sucks: Two Economists Drink Their Way Through the Unfree World. Washington: Regnery Publishing.

Lawson, R. 2019. “The Consequences and Causes of Economic Freedom: Adam Smith Award Remarks.” Journal of Private Enterprise 34(3): 1-10.

Grier, K, R. Lawson, and S. Absher. 2019. “So You Say You Want a (Rose) Revolution? The Effects of Georgia’s 2004 Market Reforms.” The Economics of Transition and Institutional Change 27(1): 301-23.

Lawson, R. and R. Murphy. 2019. “What Matters More, Institutions or Specifications? A Critical Assessment of the Correlates of Institutional Development.” Institutions and Economies 11(1): 1-20.

Lawson, R. and J. R. Clark. 2019. “Taxation in the Classical Liberal Tradition.” Review of Austrian Economics 32(2): 131-37.

Lawson, R. and R. Murphy. 2018. “Economic Freedom and Growth Specification Debate: A Retrospective.” Applied Economic Letters 25(15): 1038-40.

Murphy, R. and R. Lawson. 2018. “Extending the Economic Freedom of the World Index to the Cold-War Era.” Cato Journal 38(1): 265-84.