Dr. Vernon Smith

Dr. Vernon Smith

Professor, George L. Argyros Endowed Chair in Finance and Economics, Professor of Economics and Law
Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy
Economic Science Institute
Dale E. Fowler School of Law
The George L. Argyros College of Business and Economics
Expertise: Experimental Economics; Ethics & Society; Adam Smith; Industrial Organization; Real Estate; Economics and Law;
Office Location: Wilkinson Hall 103
Phone: (714) 628-2682
Scholarly Works:
SSRN Author Page
California Institute of Technology, Bachelor of Science
University of Kansas, Master of Arts
Harvard University, Ph.D.


Dr. Vernon L. Smith was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002 for his groundbreaking work in experimental economics. Dr. Smith has joint appointments with the Argyros School of Business & Economics and the Fowler School of Law, and he is part of a team that will create and run the new Economic Science Institute at Chapman.

Dr. Smith has authored or co-authored more than 375 articles and books on capital theory, finance, natural resource economics and experimental economics. He serves or has served on the board of editors of the American Economic Review, The Cato Journal, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Science, Economic Theory, Economic Design, Games and Economic Behavior, and the Journal of Economic Methodology. He is past president of the Public Choice Society, the Economic Science Association, the Western Economic Association and the Association for Private Enterprise Education. Previous faculty appointments include the University of Arizona, Purdue University, Brown University, the University of Massachusetts, and George Mason University, where he was a Professor of Economics and Law prior to joining the faculty at Chapman University. Dr. Smith has been a Ford Foundation Fellow, Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and a Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at the California Institute of Technology.

In 1991, the Cambridge University Press published Dr. Smith's Papers in Experimental Economics, and in 2000, a second collection of more recent papers, Bargaining and Market Behavior. Cambridge published his Rationality in Economics: Constructivist and Ecological Forms in January 2008. Dr. Smith has received an honorary Doctor of Management degree from Purdue University, and is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Smith is a distinguished fellow of the American Economic Association, an Andersen Consulting Professor of the Year, and the 1995 Adam Smith Award recipient conferred by the Association for Private Enterprise Education. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1995, and received CalTech's distinguished alumni award in 1996. He has served as a consultant on the privatization of electric power in Australia and New Zealand and participated in numerous private and public discussions of energy deregulation in the United States. In 1997 he served as a Blue Ribbon Panel Member, National Electric Reliability Council.

Dr. Smith completed his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, his master's degree in economics at the University of Kansas, and his Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University.

Courses Taught:

Spontaneous Order and the Law.

Recent Selected Publications:

ADAM SMITH’S THEORY OF SOCIETY: The Rules that Have Created Better Societies Did So by Creating Better Lives published by Palgrave MacMillan Nature (coming soon).

Chase, B., Porter, D., Shen, Y., & Smith, V. (2023). Complements and substitutes in a dynamic consumption-asset economy: A laboratory experiment. Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems - S, 0–0. https://doi.org/10.3934/dcdss.2023142 

Inoua, S., & Smith, V.L. (2022). ECONOMICS OF MARKETS Neoclassical Theory, Experiments, and Theory of Price Discovery. Chaim, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan Springer Nature.

Inoua, S. M., & Smith, V. L. (2022). Economics of markets: Neoclassical theory, experiments, and theory of classical price discovery. Palgrave Macmillan.

Huber, J., Inoua, S., Kerschbamer, R., König-Kersting, C., Palan, S., & Smith, V. L. "Nobel and novice: Author prominence affects peer review." ESI Working Paper 22-15.

Smith, V. L. "300 anniversary of Smith’s birth." ESI Working Paper 22-09.

Inoua, S.M. & Smith, V.L. “Perishable Goods versus Re-tradable Assets: A Theoretical Reappraisal of a Fundamental Dichotomy” ESI Working Paper 22-01.

Inoua, S.M. & Smith, V.L. “Re-tradable Assets, Speculation, and Economic Instability.” ESI Working Paper 21-21.

Inoua, S.M. & Smith, V.L. “Classical Theory of Competitive Market Price Formation.” ESI Working Paper 21-09.

Campbell, M.J. & Smith, V.L. “An Elementary Humanomics Approach to Boundedly Rational Quadratic Models.” ESI Working Paper 20-35

Inoua, S. & Smith, V.L. (2021). Classical versus neoclassical equilibrium discovery processes in market supply and demand theory. History of Political Economy, 54(1), 37-73. https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-9548323 

Smith, V. L. (2020). Trust, reciprocity, and social history: New pathways of learning when max U (own reward) fails decisively. ESI Working Paper 20-28.

Smith, Vernon L. “The Economy Will Survive the Coronavirus Don’t despair. Even amid the doom and gloom there are many things to be glad about." Wall Street Journal April 5, 2020 12:16 pm ET Submitted as “A Season and Time for Learning.”

Smith, Vernon L. “Coronavirus Economy: Reports of an Economic Crash Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

"The economy today lives in suspense, not free-fall. The pandemic will pass. Supply chains will refill. Securities markets will recover, and growth will continue.” USA Today, March 23, 2020 

Smith, Vernon L. “Causal versus Consequential Motives in Mental Models of Agent Social and Economic Action: Experiments, and the Neoclassical Diversion in Economics”. Kyklos73, 3, 341-379. 

Inoua, S.M. &  Smith, V.L. (2020). “Classical Economics: Lost and Found,” Independent Review, 25, 1.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

“Faith, science and religion.” To appear in Eminent Economists II – Their Life and Work Philosophies. (Eds. M. Szenberg and L. Ramrattan). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
“Routledge Revivals” Economics of Natural and Environmental Resources. (Ed. Vernon L. Smith) New York: Routledge (Originally published, 1977 by Gordon and Breach, Science Publishers).
“Transparency, efficiency and the distribution of economic welfare in pass-through investment trust games.” With T. A. Rietz, R. M. Sheremeta, T. W. Shields. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 94 pp. 257-267.
“Human economic choices as costly information processing.” With J. Dickhaut, B. Xin, A. Rustichini. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 94 pp. 206-221.
"Using Laboratory Experiments in Logistics and Supply Chain Research." With C. Deck. Journal of Business Logistics, 34(1): 6–14.
“Of Houses and Hamburgers,” The Daily Beast. April 16, 2013. Available online: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/04/15/the-great-recession-and-the-property-bubble.html
“Adam Smith: From Propriety and Sentiments to Property and Wealth.” Forum for Social Economics. July 16, 2013.
“Fiscal consolidation, depreciation, and recovery,” With J. Buchanan & S. Gjerstad. Witherspoon Institute, to appear.
“Prosperity and recession: consumption and investment booms in the twenties and their collapse in 1930,” With S. Gjerstad. Housing and Mortgage Markets in Historical Perspective (Eds. K. Snowden and E. N. White). Chicago: University of Chicago Press for National Bureau of Economic Research.
“At home in the great recession,” With S. Gjerstad. The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs. (Ed. B. Miniter). Chapter 5 (pp. 50-79). Dallas: Crown Publishing Group.
“Underwater recession,” With J. A. Buchanan, & S. Gjerstad. The American Interest: Policy, Politics & Culture 12 (5). Available online: http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1229
Risk and the evolution of human exchange,” With H. S. Kaplan, E. Schniter & B. J. Wilson. Proceedings of the Royal Society. April 18, 2012.
“Commodity durability, trader specialization, and market performance.” With J. Dickhaut, S. Lin, D. Porter. Proceedings National Academy of Science, 109, pp. 1425-30.
“(M)eine Entdeckungsreise,” Schweizer Dossier, 994, pp. 48-52. (Translation of the working paper: “The Marketplace: Friend or Foe of Human Betterment? - Insights from laboratory and economy.”)
“ObamaCare’s Flawed Economic Foundations,” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2012.
“Adam Smith on humanomic behavior,” Edited transcript of keynote address, Academy of Behavioral Finance and Economics, UCLA.
“Fair and impartial spectators in experimental economic behavior,” With B. J. Wilson. Oxford Philosophical Concepts: Sympathy (Ed. Eric Schliesser). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
“US fiscal stimulus disproportionately increased imports and trade deficit; expect the reverse with austerity,” With J.A. Buchanan & S. Gjerstad. Economists’ Forum, July 26, 2011. Available online: http://blogs.ft.com/economistsforum/2011/07/the-us-fiscal-stimulus-disproportionately-increased-imports-and-the-trade-deficit-expect-the-reverse-with-austerity/#ixzz1TKHHobR9
"Exchange, Specialization, and Property as a Discovery Process," History of Political Economy 43 (2), pp. 317-337.
“Radio Spectrum and the Disruptive Clarity of Ronald Coase,” With T.W. Hazlett & D. Porter. Journal of Law and Economics, 54(4) part 2.
“Are capitalists happier?” With R. Rotunda & B. Wilson. Reuters, August 12, 2011. Available online: http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2011/08/12/are-capitalists-happier/
“The road ahead: insolvency, policy, and economic stress,” The Daily Beast. August 15, 2011. Available online: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/08/15/vernon-l-smith-insolvency-policy-and-economic-stress.html
“Exchange, Theft, and the Social Formation of Property,” With E. Kimbrough & B. Wilson. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 74(3), p. 206-229.
“Theory and Experiment: What are the questions?” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 73, pp. 3-15.
“Discovering Economics in the Classroom with Experimental Economics and the Scottish Enlightenment,” With T. Jaworski and B. Wilson. International Review of Economics Education, 9 (2) pp. 10-33.
“What would Adam Smith Think?” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 73, pp. 83-86.
“Housing, Depressions and Credit Collapses,” Financial Times, January 24, 2010. Available online: http://blogs.ft.com/economistsforum/2010/01/housing-depressions-and-credit-collapses/
“Disequilibrium in the Housing Market,” Newsweek. January 24, 2011. Available online: http://mobile.newsweek.com/s/2499/350?itemUriVal=5987071d402c0ca6e008e54d0b60189e%2F312150228110001676210250&fullStory=true&HeaderTltle=
“What Ben Bernanke May Be Thinking,” Wall Street Journal. December 1, 2010.
“Why we’re in for a Long, Hard Economic Slog,” With S. Gjerstad. Wall Street Journal. September 10, 2010.
“Please, No More Government Spending!” With S. Gjerstad. The Daily Beast, July 19, 2010. Available online: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-07-19/please-no-more-government-spending/
“Monetary Policy, Credit Extension and Housing Bubbles 2008 and 1929,” With S. Gjerstad. Critical Review, 21, pp. 260-300.
“Exchange and Specialization as a Discovery Process,” with S. Crockett, and B. Wilson. Economic Journal, 119 (539), pp. 1162 – 1188.
“The Design of Water Markets When Instream Flows Have Value,” With J. J. Murphy, A. Dindar, R. E. Howitt, and S. J. Rassenti, Journal of Environmental Management, 90 (2), pp. 1089-1096.
“Neuroeconomic Theory of the Decision Process,” With J. Dickhaut and A. Rustichini. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106 (52).
“Pioneers in Finance: Vernon Smith Interview,” With T. Odean and B. Simkins, Journal of Applied Finance (Formerly Financial Practice and Education), 18 (2), 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1421990.
“Exchange and Specialization as a Discovery Process,” With B. Wilson. The Economic Journal, 119 (539), pp. 1162-1188.
“The Design, Testing and Implementation of Virginia’s NOx Allowance Auction,” With D. Porter, S. Rassenti, W. Shobe, and A. Winn. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 69 (2), pp. 190-200.
“The ABC Dilemma of Health Reform,” Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2009. Available online: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703298004574455303729826362.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
“Governing the Commons,” Forbes, October 12, 2009. Available online: http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/12/elinor-ostrom-commons-nobel-economics-opinions-contributors-vernon-l-smith.html
“From Bubble to Depression?” With S. Gjerstad. Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2009, pp. A15.