Bart J. Wilson is the Donald P. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Economics and Law at Chapman University's Economic Science Institute. He is currently using experimental economics in his research to examine the foundations of exchange and specialization and the origin of property rights systems that undergird it. Another of his research programs compares decision making in humans, apes, and monkeys. Bart has published papers in the American Economic Review, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Evolution & Human Behavior. His research has been supported with grants from the National Science Foundation, the Federal Trade Commission, and the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics. Bart loves to talk about the courses he teaches, including "Humanomics" and "Spontaneous Order and the Law." Prior to joining the faculty at Chapman, he was an Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University and before that a Research Scientist at the Economic Science Laboratory at the University of Arizona and an Economist at the Federal Trade Commission. Bart received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Arizona and hails from the great State of Wisconsin.
Description: Did the long, dead philosophers of 18th century Scotland get it right when they argued that property is an invention of man and the foundation of a system that creates wealth? If, as F.A. Hayek says, the conception of property did not fall ready made from heaven, then how does it form? These are two of the questions my co-authors and I are exploring using the modern tool of experimental economics. Economists, like most people, tend to think that the government must set the rules of conduct to establish what is right. But as accountants know from professional experience, and as my subjects demonstrate when making decisions for cold hard cash in the laboratory, we observe that rulesof conduct emerge in precisely the opposite way, from our knowledge of what is right.