Mark Thornton

Mark Thornton (born June 7, 1960) is an American economist of the Austrian School.[1] He has written on the topic of prohibition of drugs, the economics of the American Civil War, and the "Skyscraper Index".[2] He is a Senior Fellow with the Ludwig von Mises Institute[3] in Alabama and a Research Fellow with the Independent Institute.[4]

Mark Thornton
Mark Thornton
Born (1960-06-07) June 7, 1960 (age 61)
FieldEconomic history, political economy, prohibitionism, history of economic thought
School or
Austrian School
InfluencesFrederic Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Life and academic careerEdit

Mark Thornton speaking about business cycles during the 2008 Mises University conference.

Thornton grew up in Geneva, New York in an Irish Catholic family of entrepreneurs who were "Democrat in politics".[5]

Thornton received his B.S. from St. Bonaventure University (1982), and his Ph.D. from Auburn University (1989). Thornton taught economics at Auburn University. He formerly taught at Columbus State University where he was awarded the Faculty Research and Scholarship Award in 2002.[6] He is now a Senior Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute,[3] where he is book review editor for its Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.[7] As a writer for the Mises Institute, he is known for warning of a housing bubble in 2004.[8] published an articleHe has written about prohibition-related issues.[5]

Prohibition studiesEdit

Thornton's first book, The Economics of Prohibition, was praised by Thornton's supervisor at the Mises Institute, its vice-president Murray Rothbard, who is quoted on the book cover of the 2007 edition as writing: "Thornton's book... arrives to fill an enormous gap, and it does so splendidly...This is an excellent work making an important contribution to scholarship as well as to the public policy debate."[9] Reviewer David R. Henderson of the Hoover Institution wrote, "Thornton's book contains much valuable information on prohibition and cites many sources. But the economically literate book on prohibition that makes a case for legalization has yet to be written."[10] Thornton debated the War on Drugs at Oxford Union in 2014.

Libertarian organizations have published Thornton's articles on drug and alcohol prohibition, and he was once interviewed on the topic of prohibition by Agence France-Presse.[11][12][13] Thornton contributed a chapter to Jefferson Fish's book How to Legalize Drugs.[14]

Political activitiesEdit

Thornton ran for U.S. Congress in 1984.[15] Thornton has been the vice chairman and chairman of the Libertarian Party of Alabama. In 1988, he became the first Libertarian Party office-holder in Alabama when he was elected Constable, a local law-enforcement position.[5][16] He was the Libertarian Party's Candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1996. He was also endorsed by the Reform Party, and came in third of four candidates.[16]


  • The Economics of Prohibition. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1991. (ISBN 0-87480-379-9)
  • Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War (with Robert B. Ekelund, Jr). Delaware: Scholarly Resource Books, 2004. (ISBN 0-8420-2961-3)
  • The Quotable Mises (editor). Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2005. (ISBN 0-945466-45-5)
  • The Bastiat Collection (editor). Volume 1 and Volume 2. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007. (ISBN 978-1-933550-07-7)
  • An Essay on Economic Theory: An English translation of Richard Cantillon’s Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général (Thornton, editor; Chantal Saucier, translator) Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010. (ISBN 978-1-61016-001-8)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ DiLorenzo, Thomas (2011-02-11) My Associations with Liars, Bigots, and Murderers,
  2. ^ Blumenthal, Robin Goldwyn; Strauss, Lawrence C. (November 16, 2013). "The Skyscraper Index: Edifice Complex". Barron's. The U.S. has a new tallest building—One World Trade Center in New York—and that has conjured up some novel reading of economic tea leaves.
  3. ^ a b Mark Thornton fellow page, Ludwig von Mises Institute website, accessed December 21, 2013.
  4. ^ Mark Thornton biography page at Independent Institute website, accessed December 21, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Joseph S. Diedrich, Libertarian America: A conversation with Mark Thornton, Washington Times, March 24, 2013.
  6. ^ "Mark Thornton". Mises Institute. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  7. ^ Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics website Archived 2008-05-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "When Mainstream Economics Was Wrong, Mark Thornton Was Right – Investing Video & Audio Jay Taylor Media".
  9. ^ Mark Thornton, The Economics of Prohibition, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007, ISBN 1610164652
  10. ^ Henderson, David. "Review of Economics of Prohibition" (PDF). Cato Journal. 13 (1): 152–154.
  11. ^ "US drinks to 75 years since end of Prohibition." Agence France-Presse. Hosted by Google. 4 December 2008. [1]
  12. ^ Thornton, Mark. "Prohibition versus Legalization: Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Drug Policy?" Independent Institute. The Independent Review. Winter 2007. [2]
  13. ^ Thornton, Mark. "Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure." Policy Analysis no. 157. Cato Institute. 17 July 1991. [3]
  14. ^ Thornton, M. (1998). "Perfect Drug Legalization". In J. M. Fish (ed.), How to Legalize Drugs (pp. 638–660). Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. ISBN 978-0765701510
  15. ^ Gadsden Times, Nov 4, 1984.
  16. ^ a b Mark Thornton faculty page, Ludwig Von Mises Institute website, accessed December 21, 2013.

External linksEdit