Mark Lutter on Proprietary Cities

The George Mason University economics department is known for developing new ideas into influential ideas. The Virginia-based bastion of free market thought has been producing groundbreaking scholarly work for decades, and shows no signs of slowing down. Last month, GMU PhD Candidate Mark Lutter defended his thesis, “Three Essays on Proprietary Cities.” His committee included Donald Boudreaux, Tyler Cowen, and Richard Wagner. Lutter’s academic interest in proprietary, or free cities is part of a trend among scholars and thought leaders studying the incentives that drive government decision-makers. If politicians respond to rewards and punishments just like you and I do, shouldn’t we consider giving them a larger stake in the profits and losses of the underlying jurisdiction? A proprietary city, Lutter argues, could achieve this, with tremendous benefits for both the developing and the developed world. He makes a convincing case on his blog,, and joins Bob to defend the idea that the time for free cities has come.