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Free Online Courses

This Common Sense Economics website, its accompanying textbook and its course package provide tools to help make economics fun. This site provides speedy electronic resource guidance, quality supplements, economic examples, quick links to cool stuff, information on a full multi-media course package and workshop announcements on how to get trained to teach a course using the package in a seated or online setting. Compared to other websites, the Common Sense Economics website offers a substantially larger quantity of field-tested economics materials that focus on experience-based learning. Common Sense Economics connects to many of the 20 Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics and National Standards for Financial Literacy. Most importantly, this website contains materials that will help instructors fashion exciting and informative courses.

Founded in 2012 by George Mason University economics professors Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution University is building the world’s largest online library of free economics education videos — currently weighing in at more than 800 videos.

Since 2003, Tyler and Alex have co-authored a popular economics blog called Marginal Revolution — hence the name of this educational platform. What is the “marginal revolution” exactly? The term refers to an exciting time in the history of economics when several leading nineteenth century thinkers (Walras, Menger, and Jevons) formalized what is now known as marginalism theory. In other words, thinking on the margin, which is something you too will master as you dive into MRU videos. We also like the idea that revolutions are made one idea and one person at a time.

Learn Liberty is your resource for exploring the ideas of a free society. We tackle big questions about what makes a society free or prosperous and how we can improve the world we live in. We don’t have all the answers – but we’ve got a lot of ideas.

By working with professors from a range of academic disciplines and letting them share their own opinions, we help you explore new ways of looking for solutions to the world’s problems.

Why are so many violent criminals walking free? What are some of the weirdest reasons for making drugs illegal? Why is college so expensive?

Learn Liberty doesn’t have all the answers but we do have over 300 videos with real professors who can answer these questions, and many more you might not have considered, like the greatest myths about the Great Depression, or why all politicians sound the same.

FEE has been hosting in-person workshops and providing free resources for decades. Our courses empower students to use the entrepreneurial mindset and economic way of thinking to improve their daily lives. They are being used worldwide, and are designed to fit into high school and college students’ busy schedules and accommodate their diverse learning styles.

Students can boost their hireability, learn how to confidently and intelligently express ideas, and gain critical thinking skills they can use no matter their career path. Teachers can engage their students with ready-made, interactive learning materials. The best part is our engaging curriculum complements state standards and prepares students for upper-level classes in public policy, economics, civics, political science, and more.

Introductory Books Available for Free?

Henry Hazlitt
Economics in One Lesson

Difficulty level: 1/5

This primer on economic principles brilliantly analyzes the seen and unseen consequences of political and economic actions. In the words of F.A. Hayek, there is “no other modern book from which the intelligent layman can learn so much about the basic truths of economics in so short a time.”

This primer on economic principles brilliantly analyzes the seen and unseen consequences of political and economic actions. In the words of F.A. Hayek, there is “no other modern book from which the intelligent layman can learn so much about the basic truths of economics in so short a time.”

Israel Kirzner
The Economic Point of View

Difficulty level: 3/5

The present essay is an attempt to explore with some thoroughness an extremely narrow area within the field of the history of economic thought. Although this area is narrow, it merits a scrutiny quite out of proportion to its extension, relating as it does to fundamental ideas around which the entire corpus of economic thought has revolved for some two centuries. It remains as true today as ever before that the direction taken by economic theory is in large measure determined by the “point of view” adopted by the economist as his special perspective. It is in this connection that the present study seeks to make its contribution, by setting up the problem in its proper context as a chapter in the history of ideas…. [From the Preface]

Frederic Bastiat
Selected Essays on Political Economy

Difficulty level: 2/5

Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) was a French economist, statesman, and author. He led the free-trade movement in France from its inception in 1840 until his untimely death in 1850. The first 45 years of his life were spent in preparation for five tremendously productive years writing in favor of freedom. Bastiat was the founder of the weekly newspaper Le Libre Échange, a contributor to numerous periodicals, and the author of sundry pamphlets and speeches dealing with the pressing issues of his day.

Read in particular the essay What is Seen and What is Unseen and The Law

Adam Smith
Wealth of Nations

Difficulty level: 2/5

Adam Smith’s
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was first published in 1776. This edition of Smith’s work is based on Edwin Cannan’s careful 1904 compilation (Methuen and Co., Ltd) of Smith’s fifth edition of the book (1789), the final edition in Smith’s lifetime. Cannan’s preface and introductory remarks are presented below. His extensive footnotes, detailing the changes undergone by the book over its five editions during Smith’s lifetime, as well as annotated references to the book, are also included here. 

Friedrich Hayek
The Use of Knowledge in Society

Difficulty level: 4/5

What is the problem we wish to solve when we try to construct a rational economic order? On certain familiar assumptions the answer is simple enough.
If we possess all the relevant information,
if we can start out from a given system of preferences, and
if we command complete knowledge of available means, the problem which remains is purely one of logic. That is, the answer to the question of what is the best use of the available means is implicit in our assumptions. The conditions which the solution of this optimum problem must satisfy have been fully worked out and can be stated best in mathematical form: put at their briefest, they are that the marginal rates of substitution between any two commodities or factors must be the same in all their different uses.

Jean Baptiste Say
A Treatise on Political Economy

Difficulty level: 3/5

A NEW edition of this translation of the popular treatise of M. Say having been called for, the five previous American editions being entirely out of print, the editor has endeavoured to render the work more deserving of the favour it has received, by subjecting every part of it to a careful revision

Leonard Read
I Pencil

Difficulty level: 1/5

I am a lead pencil–the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write…. [From “I, Pencil”]

Stroup and Gwartney – What everyone should know about economics and prosperity

Difficulty level: 1/5

WE REALIZE THAT YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE. Most of you do not want to spend a lot of time learning new terms, memorizing formulas, or mastering details that are important only to professional economists. What you want are the insights of economics that really matter—those that will help you make better personal choices and enhance your understanding of our complex world. And you want those insights to be presented in a concise, organized, and readable manner, with a minimum of economics jargon. This short book attempts to meet both of these objectives.

Paul Heyne
Economics Is a Way of Thinking” (1995)[2013]

Difficulty level: 1/5

This is part of “The Best of the Online Library of Liberty” which is a collection of some of the most important material in the OLL. This essay is by the American economist Paul Heyne who explains in a mere 5 pages how to think like an economist. If you only ever read one essay by an economist this is the one to read. (Well, maybe also Bastiat’s “The Broken Window”.)

Think Tanks & NGOs

The global network of liberal think-tanks is spreading continuously. There is probably one organization near you. Find out here! 

Institute for Humane Studies


The Institute for Humane Studies is the leading institute in higher education dedicated to championing classical liberal ideas and the scholars who advance them.

Liberty Fund


Liberty Fund was founded in 1960 by Pierre F. Goodrich, an Indianapolis lawyer and businessman, to the end that some hopeful contribution may be made to the preservation, restoration, and development of individual liberty through investigation, research, and educational activity.

Ayn Rand Institute


The Ayn Rand Institute offers educational experiences, based on Ayn Rand’s books and ideas, to a variety of audiences, including students, educators, policymakers and lifelong learners. ARI also engages in research and advocacy efforts, applying Rand’s ideas to current issues and seeking to promote her philosophical principles of reason, rational self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism.

Adam Smith Institute

United Kingdom

The Adam Smith Institute is one of the world’s leading think tanks. Independent, non-profit and non-partisan, we work to promote neoliberal and free market ideas through research, publishing, media commentary, and educational programmes. The Institute is today at the forefront of making the case for free markets and a free society in the United Kingdom.

Cato Institute


The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization — a think tank — dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues.

Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE)


The Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) is an association of teachers and scholars from colleges and universities, public policy institutes, and industry with a common interest in studying and supporting the system of private enterprise. APEE hosts an annual conference for members to share their scholarly findings and offers a number of awards to recognize individuals who have contributed to the cause of private enterprise. Support for young scholars is often available to attend the annual conference. The association sponsors the Journal of Private Enterprise so scholars may share their research with the wider academic community.

Mont Pelerin Society

The Mont Pelerin Society is composed of persons who continue to see the dangers to civilized society outlined in the statement of aims. They have seen economic and political liberalism in the ascendant for a time since World War II in some countries but also its apparent decline in more recent times.

Though not necessarily sharing a common interpretation, either of causes or consequences, they see danger in the expansion of government, not least in state welfare, in the power of trade unions and business monopoly, and in the continuing threat and reality of inflation.

Atlas Network


Atlas Network is a nonprofit organization connecting a global network of more than 475 free-market organizations in over 90 countries to the ideas and resources needed to advance the cause of liberty.

Atlas Network does not receive funds from any government or quasi-government institutions. Since its founding and according to its bylaws, Atlas Network has relied solely on voluntary gifts from those who cherish the principles of a free society.



Timbro was founded in 1978 and is the largest free market think tank in the Nordic countries with approximately 20 employees. Its mission is to build opinion in favor of market economy, free entrepreneurship, individual freedom and an open society.

We publish works from classic liberal thinkers such as Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, make policy recommendations in our reports and produce films and podcasts as well as organize educational programs for young people. Many of Timbro’s employees are frequent commentators in national and international media.

Each year we complete two studies in English: Timbro’s Populist Index, which maps the rise of populist parties in Europe, and, together with the think tank Epicenter, the Nanny State Index, which maps the level of paternalism in politics.

Mercatus Center


The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas—bridging the gap between academic ideas and real-world problems.

A university-based research center, the Mercatus Center advances knowledge about how markets work to improve people’s lives by training graduate students, conducting research, and applying economics to offer solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

Our mission is to generate knowledge and understanding of the institutions that affect the freedom to prosper, and to find sustainable solutions that overcome the barriers preventing individuals from living free, prosperous, and peaceful lives.

Center for the Philosophy of Freedom at the University of Arizona.


The Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, also known as the Freedom Center, is an environment for academic work. The professors who work here are members of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Arizona, and each of them has research and teaching interests in questions related to some aspect of freedom: What does it take for societies to free their members from oppression and poverty? How is it possible, in a world shaped by prior causes, for people to exercise free will? And what sorts of lives might free people aspire to create for themselves? The Freedom Center provides financial, administrative, and collegial support for diverse, independent scholarship on issues like these.

Institute for Economic Inquiry


Creighton’s Institute for Economic Inquiry seeks to generate robust discussions on campus about markets and how economic freedom affects human flourishing. The Institute supports programs that analyze economic and social outcomes from a variety of academic perspectives, including economics, ethics, and entrepreneurship.

The Institute upholds the University’s commitment to examining issues from diverse perspectives, including that of Creighton’s Jesuit, Catholic faith. Institute faculty draw inspiration from Jesuit thinkers including Francisco Suárez and Juan de Salas, leaders of the sixteenth-century counter-reformation in Catholic thought.

Foundation for Economic Education


The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is a non-political, non-profit, tax-exempt educational foundation and has been trusted by parents and teachers since 1946 to captivate and inspire tomorrow’s leaders with sound economic principles and the entrepreneurial spirit with free online courses, top-rated in-person seminars, free books for classrooms, as well as relevant and worldly daily online content. 

Institute for Economic Affairs

United Kingdom

The IEA is the UK’s original free-market think-tank, founded in 1955. Our mission is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.Given the current economic challenges facing Britain and the wider global environment, it is more vital than ever that we promote the intellectual case for a free economy, low taxes, freedom in education, health and welfare and lower levels of regulation. The IEA also challenges people to think about the correct role of institutions, property rights and the rule of law in creating a society that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship and the efficient use of environmental resources.

The Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal Issues IREF


The Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal Issues was founded in 2002 by representatives of the civil society coming from the academic and business world and willing to establish an efficient platform to investigate fiscal and taxation questions. As a matter of fact, taxation may be considered as a many-faceted issue and existing studies are mostly incomplete if not biased. The need to explore systematically and completely the question was obvious to IREF’s founding members. It can be asserted that this need has also an emergency aspect. Tax studies can no longer ignore the globalisation process and the consequences of this evolution on the magnitude of tax competition.

CEE Countries

The portal is a platform for experts and intellectuals from Central and Eastern Europe, embodying the liberal environment, to share their opinions and ideas. Representatives of 14 think tanks from various countries including Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania and Germany will regularly publish comments, analyses and polemics encompassing political, economic, social and cultural life, as well as subjects of heated debate in the media, shown from a Central European perspective. The main aim of the portal is to make this point of view easily accessible to wider international audiences through publications exclusively in English. Portal is coordinated and managed by the team of the liberal portal and is published by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

Fraser Institute


The Fraser Institute is the top think-tank in Canada for the tenth straight year and ranks in the top 25 among all think-tanks worldwide, according to the University of Pennsylvania’s Global Go-To Think Tanks Index.

Our mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families, and future generations by studying, measuring, and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship, and choice on their well-being.

Students for Liberty


Students For Liberty is a rapidly growing network of pro-liberty students from all over the world. Our mission is to educate, develop, and empower the next generation of leaders of liberty. We are the largest libertarian student organization in the world. We accomplish this through a strategy of empowerment, identifying the top student leaders and training them to be agents of change in their communities. What began as a small meeting of young leaders has become an international movement of students with thousands of leaders around the world and with operations on every inhabited continent. The numbers above represent SFL’s impact since its founding.

Institute for Market Economics


The Institute for Market Economics (founded 1993) is the oldest free-market think tank in Bulgaria. While we have heralded the positive effect of Bulgaria being a member of the EU for more than 10 years now, we have also been increasingly concerned about some initiatives that aim to shift the Union away from its founding principles. Such is the case with the proposal to “explore how EU decision-making on certain tax issues could be streamlined by removing the need for unanimous agreement by all countries”. Here we present our arguments why we strongly oppose this proposal. All quotations are taken from the Roadmap published by the European Commission.

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Independent Institute


The Independent Institute’s research program includes seven centers to further the Institute’s scholarly and educational mission, each of which adheres to the highest peer-review standards and excellent publishing and high visibility media/communications practices.

Each center’s mission is to evaluate, refine, and propose advances that provide sound solutions to major social and economic issues. Each program comprises three broad elements: scholarly research, publications, and dissemination of findings to opinion leaders and the general public through conference and media projects.