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Gwartney Institute

Attention High School Students!

Please join us November 17, 2023 for our PPEfest event at Ottawa University

On Friday, November 17th the Gwartney Institute will be welcoming high school students to campus for our third annual PPEfest (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics). We will be welcoming Dr. Rosemarie Fike whose research is about women’s rights and economic freedom. Dr. Fike will engage in activities with the students and be our keynote speaker for the evening. Attached is a schedule of the event, along with incentives we are offering to the high students who are interested in these studies.

We are also incentivizing teachers who attend and bring high school students to the event with a $100 honorarium. Here is the sign-up link:


Russ McCullough, PhD

Russ McCullough, PhD

Wayne D. Angell Distinguished Chair of Economics
Professor of Economics

Justin Clarke, PhD

Justin Clarke, PhD

Menard Family Professor of Philosophy & Ethics
Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Peter Jacobsen, PhD

Peter Jacobsen, PhD

Assistant Professor of Economic Education
Gwartney Professor of Economic Education and Research


By 2030, the Gwartney Institute will be known for its alumni, supporters, and participants who incorporate economic understanding with their faith in their careers, vocations, communities, and personal lives. The Institute will be a nationally-recognized source for knowledge and contributions to student experience, society's understanding of private and public solutions to poverty, and the overlap of markets, governance, and faith. Young audiences will look to the Institute for challenging and engaging education on faith and economics.


Create a unique scholarly environment for the examination and study of economic freedom and social justice and their role in the advancement of human flourishing. The Institute will promote clarity in the understanding of both economic freedom and social justice, communicating their contribution to more purposeful, creative, and satisfying lives. Because of their central role in the interaction among people, social institutions - along with the economic, political, religious, and cultural factors that shape them - will be a central focus of the Institute.

PPE League Materials

PPE League Preparation Documents:

PPE League Reader 2024 (Click Here)

Example Commercials:

Pittsburg State Commercial 2022

Emporia State Commercial 2022

Ottawa Commercial 2022

Example Policy Case Presentations:

Park Policy Case 2022

Ottawa Policy Case 2022


There are currently no upcoming events.


Gwartney Institute scholars conduct research on a wide array of subjects consistent with our mission.

We focus primarily on political economy, theoretical economics, and current policy issues that impact human flourishing.

Published Papers

This collection is comprised peer-reviewed research articles intended to make novel scholarly contributions to the body of economic knowledge.

Working Papers Series

This collection is comprised of research articles intended to make novel scholarly contributions to the body of economic knowledge

  • Julian Simon teaches us the Coase theorem (with R. Candela). Peter Jacobsen, Gwartney Institute, Ottawa University


Interview with Dr. James Gwartney



Dr. James D. Gwartney holds the position of Distinguished economics Professor Emeritus and previously held the Gus A. Stavros Eminent Scholar Chair at Florida State University, where he directed the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education. He is the coauthor of Economics: Private and Public Choice, (South-Western Cengage Learning, 2014), a widely used principles of economics text that is now in its 15th edition. He is also the co-author of Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know About Wealth and Prosperity (St. Martin's Press, 2010), a primer on economics and personal finance designed for the interested layperson. Throughout his career, he has published more than 100 scholarly articles. His publications have appeared in the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Southern Economic Journal, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics and the Journal of Economic Education and popular media such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Economic education has been a focal point of his career. In recent years, he has worked with a team to develop an exciting Economics for Life course that uses videos, interactive exercises, online readings, and PowerPoint slides to make economics come alive for even students with little initial interest in the subject. His Ph.D. in economics is from the University of Washington.

His research has focused on the measurement and determination of factors that influence cross-country differences in income levels and growth rates. In this regard, he is the co-author of the annual report, Economic Freedom of the World, which provides information on the consistency of institutions and policies with economic freedom for more than 150 countries. This data set, published by a worldwide network of institutes in 80 countries, is widely used by scholars investigating topics ranging from economic growth to peaceful relations among nations. During 1999-2000, he served as Chief Economist of the Joint Economic Committee of the U. S. Congress. He was invited by the incoming Putin Administration in March 2000 to make presentations and have discussions with leading Russian economists concerning the future of the Russian economy. In 2004 he was the recipient of the Adam Smith Award of the Association of Private Enterprise Education for his contribution to the advancement of free market ideals. In 2008, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Social Science from Francisco Marroquin University, Guatemala. He is a past president of the Southern Economic Association and the Association of Private Enterprise Education.



It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of Dr. Jim D. Gwartney ’62, a revered member of our Ottawa University family. Jim, an esteemed alum, professor, and economist, dedicated his life to the pursuit of knowledge and the betterment of those around him. As we come together in remembrance, let us celebrate the life and legacy of a remarkable individual who left an indelible mark on me and so many other people who were blessed to know him. In this tribute, I will focus on Jim’s life as it relates to Ottawa University since there have been many articles written to describe the amazing breadth and reach of his professional life – Economic Freedom Index of the World, economics textbooks, Joint Economic Committee of Congress, etc. Here are some links to those recent articles in the Wall Street Journal, American Institute for Economic Research, and Florida State University. The following details about Jim and Amy come from my discussions with them over the years and a 58 page interview you can find on our GI website under ‘Namesake’.

His journey began at Ottawa University as a Physics major, but after taking his first economics class with Dr. Wayne Angell, he switched to economics. Jim quickly learned (as I did many years later) that he had a comparative advantage in economics –it simply means it came easy to him and he performed well in it. The groundwork for his vocation in life was unveiled to him at OU.

During his senior year, he was on the debate team and absorbed in his classes and debate competition. He told his friend, “we do not really have a life, we have not had a date in nearly two months”. That was when he asked the Ottawa school nurse to go on a date to see King of Kings in Kansas City. Before Amy agreed to the date, she checked with her friend’s “DO NOT DATE” list and found that Jim was not on the list. Amy and Jim’s relationship matured quickly with their first date in December 1961, engagement March 1962 and marriage August 1962. If you are keeping track, that is 61 years of marriage!

My first meeting with Jim came about from then OU President Kevin Eichner saying to me, “Do you know who Jim Gwartney is? No? You need to meet Jim Gwartney”. After that, we organized an event for Jim to speak at OU on Economic Freedom. I was asked by Jim to manage the Power Point presentation for him because he was blind –Jim lost all his sight about 1996. To my shock and awe, I would advance a slide and Jim would say something like, “Russ, is this the slide that shows the per capita GDP of Poland at $14,560?”. I could only say, “Yes, Dr. Gwartney” while I marveled at the brilliance of his mind.

Around 2016, I approached Jim about starting an Institute at OU that was focused on economic education –the Gwartney Institute was born in 2018. Donations to the Institute have allowed a three-professor team and two graduate assistants to consistently deliver influential extra-curricular activities in Philosophy, Politics and Economics that continues the long legacy of economic education Jim and Wayne Angell paved for OU. Jim’s textbook is used in all principles of economics classes at Ottawa.

I attended the visitation and funeral for Jim where I was able to meet many of Jim and Amy’s family members and friends. As hard as death is for us, it is comforting to know that Jim is home now in heaven. Jim’s strong faith in Christ permeated through all he did, and his witness to Christ through his work and relationships was impactful. His four boys, students, and friends all conveyed that the consistency Jim had in his thinking, fathering, and mentoring was key to improving their lives. The boys commented that they earned an economics degree from Dad throughout their lives with him. The economic way of thinking is inseparable from the lives we live.

As an alum, Jim continued to be an integral part of our community, sharing his insights, wisdom, and passion for economics. His impact reached far beyond the classroom, as he mentored and guided students, leaving an enduring imprint on their academic and personal journeys. Jim exemplified the true spirit of Ottawa University, embodying the values of integrity, dedication, and a genuine concern for others.

Internationally recognized for his contributions to the field of economics, Jim Gwartney's influence extended well beyond campus. His research and scholarly work not only enriched our understanding of economic principles but also contributed to shaping policies that have far-reaching effects on the world stage.

In this time of mourning, let us join together to remember and honor Jim's life. His legacy will forever be woven into the fabric of Ottawa University, serving as an inspiration for future generations. As we reflect on the impact he had on each of us personally and on our alma mater as a whole, may we find solace in the knowledge that his spirit will endure in the memories and achievements of those he touched.

I was honored when Amy asked me on the morning of Jim’s passing that in lieu of flowers, she would encourage people to donate to the Gwartney Institute. This meant so much to me to know while I was mourning Jim’s death, the Institute was a meaningful institution for his legacy. It emboldened me to further find ways to connect with students on the importance of the economic way of thinking to help them lead of lives of significance.

If you would like to donate to the Institute, you can click here and note it is for the Gwartney Institute.

Russ McCullough, PhD
Wayne Angell Chair of Economics
Angell Snyder School of Business

Founder/Director, Gwartney Institute

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