Robert Lawson

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

PhD, Economics, Florida State University
MS, Economics, Florida State University
BS, Economics, Ohio University

ONeil Center

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  • Bio

    Robert Lawson is professor of practice and Jerome M. Fullinwider 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. He previously 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 8000 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 playing vintage base ball, hiking, running, cooking, and watching sports of all kinds. He loves Cincinnati chili, the Bengals, and the Reds.

  • Teaching

    BUSE 6202 Managerial Economics
    BA 6079 Microeconomics


  • Research

    Economic Freedom
    Economic Growth and Development
    Public Finance
  • Select Publications

    Gwartney, J. and R. Lawson, and J Hall. 2017. Economic Freedom of the World: 2017 Annual Report. Vancouver: The Fraser Institute.

    Lawson, R. and R. Murphy. Forthcoming. “Economic Freedom and Growth Specification Debate: A Retrospective.” Applied Economic Letters.

    Lawson, R. and J. R. Clark. Forthcoming. “Taxation in the Classical Liberal Tradition.” Review of Austrian Economics.

    Murphy, R. and R. Lawson. Forthcoming. “Extending the Economic Freedom of the World Index to the Cold-War Era” Cato Journal.

    Heller, L., Lawson, R., R. Murphy., and C Williamson. 2016. “Is Human Trafficking the Dark Side of Economic Freedom?” Defence and Peace Economics.

    Lawson, R., R. Murphy, and C. Williamson. Forthcoming. 2016. “The Relationship Between Income, Economic Freedom, and BMI.” Public Health 134: 18-25.

    Murphy, R. and R. Lawson. 2016. “Does Antitrust Policy Promote Competition?” Applied Economics Letters 23(14): 1034-36