Economists Burton A. Abrams, Craig Eyermann, Robert Higgs, Peter G. Klein, William F. Shughart II, Emily C. Skarbek, Alexander T. Tabarrok, and Richard K. Vedder have contributed to the development of the Government Cost Calculator at


Burton A. Abrams is the Director of the Government Cost Calculator and, Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Professor of Economics at the University of Delaware. Professor Abrams received his Ph.D. in economics from Ohio State University and he has taught at the University of Split (Croatia), University of the Western Cape (South Africa), University of Adelaide, and Nankai University (China). He has also served as Staff Economist at the Federal Trade Commission and National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is the author of Return to Animal Farm and An Economic Theory of Lobbying: A Case Study of the U.S. Banking Industry.

Policy Director and Fellow:

Lawrence J. McQuillan is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Independent Institute’s Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation, which sponsors the Government Cost Calculator. He received his Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University, and he created the California Golden Fleece Awards to highlight a state or local spending program or regulation that fleeces California taxpayers, consumers, or businesses. Dr. McQuillan is the author or editor of numerous books and major studies; his more than 350 articles have appeared in such leading outlets as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Investor’s Business Daily, Forbes, USA Today, New York Post, and Encyclopedia Britannica; and he has appeared on NPR, Fox Business Network, CNBC, C-SPAN, CNN, and radio stations across the U.S.

Policy Fellows:

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow and Communications Counsel for the Government Cost Calculator at the Independent Institute. Born in Canada and educated at the University of Windsor, he has served as Editorial Director at the Pacific Research Institute, Journalism Fellow at the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, Correspondent for the Spectator (London) and Washington Times, and City Editor of the Herald Tribune in Pasadena, CA. He is the author of Hollywood Party, about Stalinist overtures in the movie industry, and From Mainline to Sideline: The Social Witness of the National Council of Churches. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Reason, National Review, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Daily News, San Diego Union-Tribune, Orange County Register, Detroit News and many other publications. He has also written for film, television and the stage.
Craig Eyermann created the Government Cost Calculator at and keeps it up to date with the latest budget data. He is Professor in Business and Mathematics at Axia College of the University of Phoenix and Professor of Mathematics at DeVry University, a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, and Managing Director of Political Calculations, a firm that provides financial and economic research and analysis. He started Political Calculations to analyze current events using simple tools for presenting generally available but often misunderstood statistics and data.

Council of Economic Advisors:

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for the Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal, The Independent Review. He has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, and the University of Economics, Prague; been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University; and been a fellow for the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation. Four of his many books, Depression, War, and Cold War; Against Leviathan; Neither Liberty Nor Safety; and Crisis and Leviathan; have explored issues related to economic upheavals such as the Great Depression, war, and growth of the U.S. government and budget. A contributor to numerous scholarly volumes, he is the author of more than 100 articles and reviews in scholarly journals.
Peter G. Klein is Research Fellow, Associate Editor of The Independent Review, and Member of the Board of Advisors of the Center on Culture and Civil Society at the Independent Institute; Associate Professor in the Division of Applied Social Sciences at the University of Missouri; Associate Director of the Contracting and Organizations Research Institute, Faculty Research Fellow at the McQuinn Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership; and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Strategy and Management at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. He is a contributor to numerous volumes is also a member of the editorial boards for the journals Managerial and Decision Economics, Journal of Management, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, International Journal of Strategic Change Management, Journal of Libertarian Studies, and Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.
William F. Shughart II is Senior Fellow of the Independent Institute, J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice at Utah State University, President of the Southern Economic Association, and Senior Editor of Public Choice. In addition to his research interests in industrial organization, antitrust and public choice, he has written extensively on tax policy, energy policy, education reform, and college sports. He is also the editor of the 1998 Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award-winning Independent Institute book, Taxing Choice: The Predatory Politics of Fiscal Discrimination and the co-editor (with Charles K. Rowley and Robert D. Tollison) of the two-volume Economics of Budget Deficits.
Emily C. Skarbek was the founding director of, Research Fellow and Director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute. Former Assistant Professor of Economics at San Jose State University, she has been an F.A. Hayek Scholar and is the recipient of the Don Lavoie Memorial Award. She is a contributing author to the books, After Katrina: The Political Economy of Disaster and Community Rebound (edited by Emily Chamlee-Wright and Virgil H. Storr) and Advances in Austrian Economics. Her research fields include applied microeconomics, political economy, labor economics, charity, housing, and economic development.
Alexander Tabarrok is Senior Fellow and former Research Director for the Independent Institute and Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University. His research interests include empirical law and economics (including tort reform, bounty hunters, and judicial electoral systems), voting theory and alternative political institutions, and health economics. He is also the co-author of an extensive website on the FDA,, and the author or editor numerous books, including Entrepreneurial Economics: Bright Ideas from the Dismal Science. He blogs regularly at, one of the top economics blogs on the web.
Richard K. Vedder is Senior Fellow of the Independent Institute and Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Economics and Faculty Associate, Contemporary History Institute, Ohio University. Professor Vedder is co-author (with Lowell Gallaway) of The Independent Institute book, Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America. He has been Senior Economist at the U.S. Joint Economic Committee and Visiting Fellow at the Center for the Study of American Business, Washington University, and his other books include The American Economy in Historical Perspective and Economic Impact of Government Spending: A Fifty State Analysis. His articles and reviews have appeared in numerous scholarly journals as well as such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, National Review, Washington Times, and Investor’s Business Daily.
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