Center for the Study of Economic Liberty at ASU welcomes new associate center director

October 1, 2020

H. Christian Kim has joined the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty at Arizona State University as the associate director. In addition, Kim has been appointed associate professor in the Department of Marketing at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

“We are thrilled to have Christian join the Center,” said Ross Emmett, director of the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty. “He will launch a research program on the connection between economic liberty and people's appreciation for economic and social mobility. He is also interested in enlarging the center's Doing Business North America profile among business and economics researchers.” H. Christian Kim, associate center director H. Christian Kim

Kim will assist the center director with developing other projects that strengthen the relationship between the center's programs and business and economics education and scholarship.

Kim’s research interests include issues surrounding self-control, materialism, branding, social perception and behavioral pricing self-control. He examines issues in these areas using lab and field experiments as well as survey instruments. Among his research topics, economic mobility and materialism are pertinent to the center.

“Increased economic mobility is assumed to be a consequence of economic freedom, but there is little evidence to support the causal relationship,” Kim said. “Having been trained in behavioral science, I am interested in investigating how issues surrounding economic mobility and materialism affect human behavior and well-being in order to provide theoretical and managerial implications. This will help further the impact of the CSEL's research enterprise.”

Kim holds a PhD in marketing from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University. Prior to joining ASU, he was an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University.

His work has been published at top journals such as the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, and the Journal of Consumer Psychology, among others. His research has been widely covered by the media including Time, New York Times Magazine, and The Independent, to name a few.

Outside the university, Kim enjoys playing various musical instruments, reading books on the world wars and physics, and hiking, with the Bernese Alps and the Mont Blanc Massif being his favorite hiking destinations.

Project Coordinator, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

ASU director delivers inaugural address on 'The Constitution of Innovation'

Professor Ross Emmett defends 5 claims about innovation to kick off series 'Perspectives on Economic Liberty'

August 22, 2018

Last spring, Arizona State University's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, in partnership with the W. P. Carey School of Business, welcomed Ross Emmett as the new director of the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty. The center is a hub for research and programs dedicated to evaluating the contribution of economic liberty to human prosperity and well-being.

Emmett says his vision for the center is not as a policy think tank, but rather as a unit somewhere between academic research and implementation. Ross Emmett Center for the Study of Economic Liberty Ross Emmett, director of the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty. Download Full Image

"If you think of the production of knowledge as a triangle," Emmett said, "with academic research at the top, the translation of research via public intellectuals in the middle, and the various ways of implementing research in public policy at the bottom, then the center would sit somewhere in the space between the academic work and the public intellectual role.”

Emmett joined ASU from Michigan State University, where he taught political economy, political theory and constitutional democracy in James Madison College. His specific research interests are in the history of economic thought, and in particular, the work of Adam Smith, T. Robert Malthus, and Frank H. Knight.  

The moment he arrived on campus, after adjusting to the absence of snow, Emmett began setting big plans in motion to rejuvenate the center. In addition to teaching in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, Emmett and his team are developing exciting research tools, publications and a lecture series, beginning this fall.

For the next year or so, the center will focus on the overarching theme of "perspectives on economic liberty," beginning with a lecture series of the same name. Emmett says that using the expression “economic liberty” is a way of talking about freedom in markets, freedom of individual choice and action, and the rule of law.

“The purpose of the series is to consider the cases for and against economic liberty, how it fits or doesn't fit with political liberty, and to ask, is one prior to the other, or are they companions?

“In these lectures, we will explore social and cultural issues around economic liberty as well as policy questions related to issues like trade and loss of jobs, minimum wage, right to work, labor regulation, and occupational licensing," he said. "These are all considerations of the benefits and potential costs in a world that accepts economic liberty.”

Emmett will kick off the series with a lecture on “The Constitution of Innovation,” in which he defines "constitution" not as a set of rules and processes, but as an environment in which systems can operate interdependently.

“Americans tend to think of ‘constitutions’ as pieces of paper that defend rights and define political processes," Emmett said. "The British tradition of constitutional analysis is more ecological: Winston Churchill compared it to daily exercise, which ensures that the various systems in our bodies function well together. FA Hayek had the British constitutional tradition in mind when he titled the only book he wrote while in America, "The Constitution of Liberty." There he argued that economic liberty undergirded economic progress because it created a societal constitution that encouraged Smithian innovation. Hayek worried that we might be about to lose that constitutional perspective. For a time, from about 1980 until the last few years, I argued that he was wrong. But perhaps we have reason to worry again. Willful disregard for the Smithian tradition threatens once again to undo a healthy constitution of innovation.”

Emmett’s talk takes place at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 23, in West Hall, room 135. RSVP here. The next two events in the series are talks by Tony Gill: "An Economic Defense of Tipping" and "Religious Freedom and Economic Liberty."

Ty Fishkind

Communications specialist, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership