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Washington, D.C. – Through an extraordinary legacy gift, the Cato Institute has established the R. Evan Scharf Chair for the Public Understanding of Economics, tapping economist Ryan Bourne to serve in the position.
The resident scholar position has been made possible by a generous donation from the estate of R. Evan Scharf. In his letter establishing the chair, Mr. Scharf reflected that government schools and private universities had failed to teach the profound theories of Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman. He wished to fund a chair at Cato so that a persuasive teacher could move “public opinion to support market economies in contrast to those of the command‐and‐control models that have failed and been so costly to human happiness, health, and productivity.”
Bourne holds a masters degree in the philosophy of economics from Cambridge University. He previously served as the Head of Public Policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs and Head of Economic Research at the Centre for Policy Studies.
Bourne has focused his scholarship on a number of economic issues, including: fiscal policy, inequality, minimum wages, and rent control. Most recently, as one of the key “Economists for Brexit,” Bourne secured commitments for a free trade agenda from Britain’s post‐Brexit Conservative government.
At Cato, Bourne will be focusing his time on infrastructure spending, crony capitalism, price controls, and general applied economics.
“I’m delighted and honored to accept the offer to occupy this chair. At a time when some well‐founded economic ideas are out of fashion, R. Evan Scharf’s generous endowment will be used to bring good economic reasoning to light in a host of public policy debates,” stated Bourne. “I intend to work tirelessly both in assessing the public understanding of economics and finding new ways of improving it. Mr. Scharf saw in this position the need for a powerful voice for economic liberty. I hope to make good on his ambition.”