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The Hilton Center

College of Social Sciences and Public Policy

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The L. Charles Hilton Jr. Center for the Study of Economic Prosperity and Individual Opportunity focuses on research designed to enhance the understanding of how legal, social, and political institutions influence market transactions and, thus, the level of income, the rate of economic growth, and economic opportunity within and across geographic regions. Faculty and graduate students conduct research in a broad range of areas, including law and economics, public economics, public choice, industrial organization, regulation, economic geography, new institutional economics, economic history, and economic development.

Leadership (click name for more information)

Shawn Kantor is the Executive Director of the Hilton Center and a prize-winning author and former head of the Department of Economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He joined the faculty of Florida State University in 2015 as the L. Charles Hilton Jr. Distinguished Professor of Economic Prosperity and Individual Opportunity. Kantor has conducted research into how economic, political, and legal institutions influence economic development. His current research examines the impact that research universities such as Florida State have on regional economic growth, both historically and today. By examining the ascendency of the modern American research university over the past 125 years, Kantor's research attempts to measure the broad economic effects of public investments in university knowledge production, especially from a regional perspective. Kantor’s many published papers have won awards for outstanding writing and rank him as one of the country’s most acclaimed economics scholars. He is the author of the books Property Rights: The Closing of the Open Range in the Postbellum South and A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers’ Compensation (with Price Fishback), which received both the 2000 TIAA-CREF Institute Certificate of Excellence and the Richard Lester Prize for Outstanding Book in Labor Economics and Industrial Relations.

Kantor received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1991. Prior to his post at Rensselaer, he was a founding faculty member at the University of California, Merced, serving as the chair of a multidisciplinary department in the social sciences.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Doug Norton is a postdoctoral scholar with the Hilton Center. His research focuses on the public sector, nonprofit organizations, and the intersection of church and state. He completed his PhD in economics from Florida State University in 2016 and has returned to the university after acting as Senior Economist at an education technology startup called MobLab. His research has appeared in a number of economic journals and his coauthored monograph titled, "Just the Facts Ma'am: A Case Study of the Reversal of Corruption in the LAPD," was published in 2013 by Palgrave-MacMillan.

Affiliated Faculty (click name for more information)

Luke Boosey, Assistant Professor of Economics
Javier Cano-Urbina, Associate Professor of Economics
James Gwartney, Gus A. Stavros Eminent Scholar Chair in Economics
John R. Hamman, Associate Professor of Economics
Randall Holcombe, Devoe L. Moore Professor of Economics
Mark Isaac, John and Hallie Quinn Eminent Scholar Chair in Economics
Carl Kitchens, Assistant Professor of Economics
Svetlana Pevnitskaya, Associate Professor of Economics
Luke Rodgers, Assistant Professor of Economics
Samuel R. Staley, Director, DeVoe L. Moore Center