Robert P. Murphy

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For other people named Robert Murphy, see Robert Murphy (disambiguation).
Robert P. Murphy
Robert P. Murphy Head Shot 1.jpg
Born (1976-05-23) May 23, 1976 (age 40)
United States
Nationality American
Institution Pacific Research Institute
Institute for Energy Research
Hillsdale College
Field Financial Economics, Trade
School or
Austrian School
Alma mater New York University (Ph.D.) 2003
Hillsdale College (B.A.) 1998

Robert Patrick Murphy (born 23 May 1976) is an American economist, consultant and author. He is an economist with the Institute for Energy Research (IER) specializing in climate change[1] and a research fellow with the Independent Institute,[2] He was a senior fellow in business and economic studies at the Pacific Research Institute,[3] and he is an associated scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.[4] In addition to economic subjects, Murphy writes about, and has presented an online video class in, anarcho-capitalism on the Mises Institute website.[5][6] Murphy is also noteworthy, and has been criticized by economists Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman for, repeatedly predicting that the quantitative easing practiced by the Federal Reserve in the late 2000s would create double-digit inflation—predictions that did not come to fruition.[7]

Life and work[edit]

Murphy received a BA in economics at Hillsdale College in 1998 and a Ph.D. in economics at New York University in 2003.[1] He returned to Hillsdale from 2003 to 2006, as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics.[2] Thereafter, he moved to his current home in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was briefly employed at Laffer Investments.[8][9] Currently, he is the president of Consulting By RPM, where he specializes in economic analysis for a lay audience.[1][9][10]

Murphy has written for The Washington Times,[11] Forbes[12] and Barron's Magazine.[13] Murphy's writings have also been published in The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, The Review of Austrian Economics,[1] the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics[14] and the Journal of Private Enterprise.[15] He has written for The Freeman,[16] The American Conservative[17] and[18] He previously wrote a column for[19]

Murphy has written numerous works for lay audiences, including study guides to works of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard.[1] Murphy is author of the 2007 book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism. Murphy's Mises Institute colleague[20] Gene Epstein wrote in Barron's Magazine that “Murphy makes a compelling case for the unfettered free market, or what his intellectual antagonists would call "free-market fundamentalism", but writes Murphy is sometimes too irreverent.[21] Murphy's book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal, published in 2009, blamed the Depression on government policies, in particular monetary policy during the presidency of Calvin Coolidge, before Herbert Hoover took office.[22][neutrality is disputed]

Murphy discussed climate change and energy-related topics, on behalf of IER, in testimony before a US Congressional committee.[23][24][25][26][undue weight? ]

Murphy is a Christian, and has stated in his writings that "my ethical beliefs are informed by my Christian faith, and I am a firm believer in natural law."[27]

Double-digit inflation predictions[edit]

In 2009, Murphy discussed various economic policies of the Bush and Obama administrations, which he called "incredible assaults on the private sector from the central government". He stated that the policies of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and President Obama would lead to double-digit inflation with high unemployment and could facilitate the abandonment of the US Dollar by the end of the Obama Presidency. Murphy warned that soaring prices for gasoline and imported products sold at Wal-Mart might be blamed by Obama Administration officials on "an attack on the Dollar by foreign speculators" and used by them to replace the Dollar with the Amero or some other currency "issued by a supranational organization". Murphy urged investors to purchase an "emergency stockpile" of physical gold and silver, and predicted double-digit inflation.[28] In July 2009, Murphy proclaimed that the economy would be “in the toilet for a decade” and predicted “20+ percent price inflation.”[29]

In a series of articles on his personal website, Murphy states that he agreed to a bet that there would be a year/year increase in the seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index of over 10% by 2013, and notes that he lost the bet.[29]

In a column criticizing economists "who stick with their ideology no matter how badly it performs in practice", Paul Krugman noted that University of California, Berkeley Professor of Economics J. Bradford DeLong had attacked Murphy for "predicting double-digit inflation for years but remain[ing] absolutely committed to his framework" despite the predictions being unfulfilled.[30] In December 2012 Krugman again addressed Murphy's failed inflation predictions, criticizing Murphy's belief that "his failed inflation forecast is OK" because it is attributable to "huge deflationary downdraft that offset the inflationary impact of Fed expansion." Krugman wrote that if that was true, "we should be hailing Ben Bernanke for preventing a catastrophic deflation."[31] Murphy replied on his blog to Krugman and DeLong's criticisms, saying "my price inflation wager has nothing to do with Austrian business cycle theory" and that Krugman was using a "macro model" which does not apply to Austrian theory which relies on "heterogeneous capital goods" and artificially low interest rates distortion of investment flows into various sectors. He admitted he was not sure why his inflation prediction was wrong.[32] In a May 2013 piece published by The American Conservative, Murphy wrote about Krugman's predictions regarding fiscal austerity and the 2013 U.S. government budget sequestration.[33]

In 2013 Murphy challenged Krugman to a debate and unnamed supporters of Murphy promised to donate $100,000 to a charity if Krugman would debate Murphy on economic policy issues.[34] A promotional website was established for the challenge. Krugman called the proposed debate a "public circus" and stated "Why should I dignify that totally-wrong doctrine — that doctrine that’s gotten everything wrong — by giving them a platform?”[35][36]

Skepticism of evolution, defense of Biblical literalism[edit]

In two articles entitled "Well, I'll be a Monkey's Nephew" and "More Monkey Business", Murphy expressed skepticism about evolution, asserting that he "can literally prove evolution is false" by pointing out that human beings act altruistically, which (in Murphy's view) cannot be explained by evolutionary motives.[37][38] In another piece which discussed evolution, Murphy discussed the influence of his Christian faith on his views and defended "those who subscribe to a literal interpretation of the Bible".[39] Murphy expressed, for instance, his belief in the Biblical story of Jonah and the Whale, asserting that "I think it's possible that a human being could be swallowed by a whale and live for three days somewhere inside of it, with enough oxygen and without being digested".[39]



  1. ^ a b c d e Robert P. Murphy profile, Institute for Energy Research, accessed December 9, 2013,
  2. ^ a b Robert P. Murphy profile, Independent Institute, accessed December 5, 2013.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Robert P. Murphy profile at Ludwig von Mises Institute, accessed December 5, 2013.
  5. ^ Robert P. Murphy, Learn Anarcho-Capitalism Online, Mises Daily, July 24, 2012.
  6. ^ Robert P. Murphy, But Wouldn't Warlords Take Over?, Mises Daily, July 7, 2005.
  7. ^ Reason
  8. ^ Written Testimony of Robert P. Murphy, Institute for Energy Research Before the House Committee on Financial Services On the Matter of Oil Prices and the U.S. Dollar, July 24, 2008, Committee website, accessed December 8, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Robert P. Murphy biography as economist and consultant to
  10. ^ Robert P. Murphy, Ph.D. (economic consultant) website at
  11. ^ Robert P. Murphy, Are Real Economists Bears?, The Washington Times, February 19, 2010, accessed via Highbeam.
  12. ^ Robert P. Murphy, Memo To The Fed: Stop Those Rate Cuts, Forbes, March 16, 2008.
  13. ^ Robert P. Murphy, Capitalism is validated by "mechanism-design" theory, Barron's Magazine, May 12, 2008
  14. ^ Resumé/CV, Robert P. Murphy website, accessed December 6, 2013.
  15. ^ Robert P. Murphy, Coordination: A Critique of Daniel Klein, The Journal of Private Enterprise, 25(2), 2010, 117-127, 117.
  16. ^ Robert P. Murphy archives at The Freeman website.
  17. ^ Robert P. Murphy archives at The American Conservative website.
  18. ^ Robert P. Murphy archives at
  19. ^ Robert Murphy columns archive,, accessed December 6, 2013.
  20. ^ "Senior Fellows, Faculty Members, and Staff."
  21. ^ Epstein, Gene (9 July 2007). "Nine Good Reasons to Hit the Beach". Barron's Magazine. 
  22. ^ Raymond J. Keating, "Book review: The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal", The Freeman, December 22, 2010.
  23. ^ Climate Change: Robert P. Murphy, Congressional Testimony, July 18, 2013, Federal Document Clearing House, Inc., accessed via Highbeam
  24. ^ Oil Prices and the Weak Dollar: Robert P. Murphy, Congressional Testimony, July 24, 2008, Federal Document Clearing House, Inc., accessed via Highbeam
  25. ^ Impact of Federal Reserve Policies on Gas Prices:robert P. Murphy, Congressional Testimony, May 25, 2011, Federal Document Clearing House, Inc., accessed via Highbeam.
  26. ^ Written Testimony of Robert P. Murphy, Senior Economist, Institute for Energy Research, Before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works On the Matter of “The ‘Social Cost of Carbon’: Some Surprising Facts” July 18, 2013; Senate Committee website accessed December 8, 2013.
  27. ^ Murphy, Robert P. "The Possibility of Private Law." 3 August 2005.
  28. ^ Robert P. Murphy, "Killing the Currency", The American Conservative, December 10, 2009.
  29. ^ a b Murphy, Robert P. (January 2, 2013). "Learning from Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman."
  30. ^ "Is Our Austerians Learning?". New York Times. December 30, 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  31. ^ Paul Krugman, On Not Learning, Continued, New York times, December 31, 2012.
  32. ^ Learning From Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman, Robert P. Murphy blog, January 2, 2013.
  33. ^ Robert P. Murphy, Heads Krugman Wins, Tails ‘Austerity’ Loses, The American Conservative, May 23, 2013.
  34. ^ Carney, John (October 25, 2010). "Will Paul Krugman be Shamed Into Debating an Austrian Economics Wunderkind?". CNBC website. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  35. ^ Lehrer, Brian (June 4, 2012). "The Brian Lehrer Show: Paul Krugman Weighs In."
  36. ^
  37. ^ Murphy, Robert P (September 20, 2003). "Well, I'll be a Monkey's Nephew."
  38. ^ Murphy, Robert P (November 24, 2003). "More Monkey Business."
  39. ^ a b Murphy, Robert P. (November 15, 2004). "In Defense of Christian Fundamentalism."

External links[edit]