Dean Stansel is an Associate Professor of Economics at Florida Gulf Coast University and the primary author of the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of North America report, which ranks the states and the Canadian provinces.

Prior to entering academia, Stansel worked for seven years at the Cato Institute, where he authored (or coauthored) more than 60 publications on fiscal policy issues, including op-eds in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Investor’s Business Daily, and the Chicago Tribune.  He also appeared on television and radio and testified before Congress and several state legislatures.

His academic research has focused on the impact of competition between local governments on fiscal and economic outcomes, the relationship between the size of government and economic growth, state fiscal crises, and a variety of other issues in the areas of public economics and urban economics. Stansel’s academic publications have appeared in numerous journals, including the Journal of Urban Economics, Public Finance Review, Cato Journal, Review of Austrian Economics, and the Journal of Housing Research. It has been cited in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Association of Private Enterprise Education awarded him second place in the 2010 Policy Communicators Contest for his paper entitled “Why Are Some Cities Growing While Others Are Shrinking?” 

In 2011, Stansel was selected by the Economic Freedom Project to help publicize the findings of the various economic freedom reports and the virtues of economic freedom in general through a variety of media interviews (nearly 100 in 2013). In 2013, he published the first ever local index of economic freedom (www.economicfreedom.org/ 2013/07/18/economic-freedom-in-your-area/) and was chosen to be the primary author of the annual Economic Freedom of North America report. His first report was published in December 2013 (available at www.freetheworld.com/efna.html).

He and his wife, Robin (who he met while both were working at the Cato Institute), live in Fort Myers, Florida. They have two young children who they homeschool. Stansel earned a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Wake Forest University in 1991 and a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University in 2002.

By Dean Stansel

Economic Freedom: What It Is and Why It Matters

A necessary building block of a prosperous society is economic freedom. History shows that freer countries tend to become wealthier countries, with the United States typically leading the way. But is the United States moving in a different direction?
Dean Stansel, an economics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, will discuss the current state of economic liberty in the United States. Stansel authors the Fraser Institute’s annual “Economic Freedom of North America” report, and will compare states by this measure. Finally, Stansel will assess how well Michigan supports economic freedom.
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Which Is Better: Cutting Income Tax Rates or Increasing the Exemption?

In addition to lowering your current taxes, cutting the tax rate would also reduce the penalty on earning additional income. Lansing would now take only 3.9 percent of it. … more

Government's Hidden Bite out of Michiganians' Take-Home Pay

Hidden payroll taxes are one reason Michigan ranks twelfth from the bottom nationwide in take-home pay. Workers should be informed of the full cost that government imposes on their pocketbooks. … more

Let's Swap the Income Tax for a Sales Tax

The onerous federal income tax system is anti-jobs, anti-savings, and anti-worker. Replacing the IRS with a national sales tax would be an improvement. … more

Block Grants Are Not the Answer

If you wanted something done in your community, would it ever occur to you to send a check to Washington, D.C., so the federal bureaucracy could take a cut before sending back the rest? … more

Sales vs. Income Taxes: The Verdict of Economists

The March 15, 1994, statewide ballot question asked voters to weigh the pros and cons of school finance. The central question was this: Which does the least economic harm-the sales tax or the income tax? Economist Dean Stansel maintains that theory and empirical evidence suggest that consumption taxes are less deleterious than taxes on income, investment, and savings. Connecticut imposed a new income tax in 1991 and economic growth evaporated and job opportunities and population declined. We should learn from the experience of states with high income taxes. 9 pages. … more

A Prosperity Agenda for Michigan Cities

Introduction by David G. Sowerby

This study compiles recently released 1990 U.S. Census Bureau data to measure the economic and fiscal policy performance of Michigan's eleven largest cities. Using an index composed of poverty rates, population growth, job growth, and per capita income, the authors find that six cities grew during the 1980s while five declined. The per capita tax burden was found to be 65 percent higher in the declining cities than in the growing cities, a difference of more than $1,100 per year in taxes. Preface by prominent Michigan economist and Mackinac Center scholar David Sowerby. 19 pages. … more