Bruce L. Benson is the DeVoe Moore Professor and Distinguished Research Professor in economics, Courtesy Professor of Law, and Director of the BB&T Program in Free Enterprise at Florida State University until he retires at the end of 2015, when he will have Professor Emeritus status. He will also serve as the Templeton Visiting Scholar at the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University during the spring semester, 2016. He earned BA (1973) and MA (1975) degrees from the University of Montana and a PhD (1978) from Texas A&M University, all in economics. After four years at Pennsylvania State University and three at Montana State University, he moved to Florida State University.
Professor Benson served in the U.S. Army infantry during 1969 and 1970, and was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal W/2 Bronze Service Stars, and Vietnam Campaign Medal. He married Terrie Johnson in 1973 and has two daughters Lacey Sweigert, a Pediatrician in Georgetown Kentucky, and Kaitlin Benson, a Reading, Writing and Literacy teacher at the Chesapeake Academy in Irvington, Virginia. His son-in-law, Joe Sweigert, is a hospitalist at the University of Kentucky medical center, and his grandson, Nathan Sweigert, is two and a half years old. Annabelle Jean Sweigert is expected in late December, 2015.
Professor Benson’s primary research and teaching areas include Law and Economics, the economics of crime, private alternatives to government, and the evolution of institutions. He has published over 140 academic journal articles, over 60 original chapters in edited volumes, and seven books, four as author and three as editor. Book editors have also chosen to republish previously published articles of his 23 times and several of his publications have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Czech, Turkish, German, and Italian. His research awards include best article prizes from the Southern Economic Journal (1989) and the Journal of Private Enterprise (1999), an FSU Distinguished Research Professor Award (1993), the 2000 Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award for his book, To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice, the Association of Private Enterprise Education's Distinguished Scholar Award (2001), and the Liberty in Theory 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Libertarian Alliance in London. He has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Law and Economics to the Czech Republic, Visiting Professor at the University de Paris Pantheon Assas, Property-and-Environment-Research-Center Julian Simon Fellow, Visiting Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, and Economics Department Chair at Florida State (2006-2012). Other recognitions include a Freedom Foundation Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education (2004) for his “Economics of Native Americans” course, and the 2006 Adam Smith Award: “the highest honor bestowed by The Association of Private Enterprise Education…. The recipient … must be an individual who has acquired an international reputation as an eloquent scholar and advocate of free enterprise...”