Richard Vedder

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Richard Vedder
Born 1940
Education University of Illinois
Occupation Author, historian, professor, columnist, policy scholar
Spouse(s) Karen Vedder

Richard K. Vedder is an American economist, historian, author, columnist, and currently distinguished professor of economics emeritus at Ohio University and senior fellow at The Independent Institute.


Born in 1940, Vedder earned his B.A. in economics at Northwestern University in 1962 and his Ph.D in economics at the University of Illinois in 1965. He has since studied U.S. economic history, particularly as it relates to public policy. Some of his specific research has involved American immigration, economic issues in American education, and the interrelationship between labor and capital markets.[1][2]

Vedder serves as an Adjunct Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a think tank known for mostly libertarian and conservative perspectives. He has served as an economist with Congress' Joint Economic Committee. In his role with the AEI, he later testified before the Committee on October 30, 2008.[2][3] He is also director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity[4] in Washington, D.C.[5]

Vedder's scholarly writings have appeared in journals such as Explorations in Economic History, The Journal of Economic History, and Agricultural History. He has written over two hundred such scholarly articles. Vedder's popular interest writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor's Business Daily, and the Christian Science Monitor.[2]

He has published the books The American Economy in Historical Perspective, Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America (with Lowell Gallaway), Can Teachers Own Their Own Schools?, Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much,[2] and The Wal-Mart Revolution: How Big-Box Stores Benefit Consumers, Workers, and the Economy (with Wendell Cox).[5]

Vedder is married to Karen Vedder, to whom he dedicated the book The Wal-Mart Revolution.


On May 27, 2011, Vedder appeared on the long running news/public affairs TV program PBS NewsHour. He told host Jeffrey Brown that since "the cost of college is rising relative to the benefits of college" while "learning outcomes are stagnant or falling in this country", American society must "open up opportunities for people to consider a variety of different options after high school, one of which is college, but there are many others." Vedder also stated that "as many as one out of three college graduates today are in jobs that previously or historically have been filled by people with lesser educations, jobs that do not require higher-level learning skills, critical thinking skills, or writing skills or anything of that nature."[6]

On August 19, 2009, Vedder appeared on the webcast series ReasonTV. He discussed the same topic.[7]


In the aftermath of the late-2000s financial crisis, Vedder stated:

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I, somewhat reluctantly, supported the $700 billion bailout package... I also believe in perilous times that government has a role to play in restoring confidence. However, I am also convinced that the crisis itself largely reflects a series of public policy miscues. In the absence of these governmental mistakes, this financial crisis would never have happened... I am very concerned about attempts by an overly zealous Congress to attempt to craft an economic program that likely will have adverse effects. In particular, expansionary fiscal policy in the form of higher government spending is precisely the wrong thing to do at this time, aggravating an explosion in inflationary expectations that I already fear will erupt, having detrimental effects on labor and financial markets.[3]

Vedder wrote in his June 2004 book Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much that American universities have become less productive and less efficient in recent years as well as more likely to shift funds away their core mission of teaching. He also criticized rising tuition costs. He proposed as a broad solution moving state universities toward free market competition and privatization. He specifically recommended as well that colleges expand distance learning, cut out non-educational programs, modify tenure, raise teaching loads, and reduce administrative staffs.[2]

He wrote along with Wendell Cox in their December 2006 book The Wal-Mart Revolution that criticisms of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. are factually unfounded. He argued that Walmart workers are paid fairly given their skill and experience, and he stated that they also receive side benefits such as health insurance that is fairly similar to competing firms. He wrote that communities with new Walmart stores actually have more total employment and higher incomes develop as a result.[5]

Vedder and fellow economist Stephen Moore wrote in the Wall Street Journal editorial page in March 2011 that every new dollar of new taxes leads to more than one dollar of new spending according to their research. Thus, they found evidence in favor of the "Feed the Beast" theory, which posits that increasing taxes for the purported purpose of balancing the budget only leads to the government spending those inflows.[8]

See also


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  4. Center for College Affordability and Productivity
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External links