All Commentary
Monday, January 19, 2015

Henry Manne, R.I.P.

May 10, 1928 – January 17, 2015

A giant has moved on. Henry Manne, the pioneer of the discipline known as “law and economics” and former FEE trustee, passed away at 86.

Henry earned his undergraduate degree in Economics from Vanderbilt University and his law degrees from the University of Chicago and Yale. The Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala, as well as Seattle University and George Mason University in the U.S., awarded him honorary doctorates. Over the years, he taught at many places, including George Mason, St. Louis University, George Washington University, and most recently at Ave Maria Law School in Naples, Florida, where he lived at the time of his death. Liberty Fund recently published “The Collected Works of Henry Manne.”

The law and economics discipline so central to Henry’s remarkable career and contributions focuses on economic analysis of law and legal problems. He founded the Law and Economics Center within the Law School of George Mason University. His influence on economic and legal issues is extensive and worldwide. In this 2004 interview, Henry discussed his path-breaking book Insider Trading and the Stock Market.

Yesterday, Robert (“Bob”) Levy, a friend and former student of Henry’s, now chairman of the Cato Institute, penned a letter of remembrance to Henry’s wife Bobbie. In it, he said,

Henry was an educational entrepreneur.  He observed, analyzed, uprooted, re-built, expanded, modernized, and innovated; then he left in his wake a top tier law school created in his image. The faculty had a healthy respect for markets and private ordering, but the classroom was never closed to vigorous debate, which yielded well-educated students, trained in political philosophy as well as the practice of law.

When I served on the search committee to find Henry’s successor, these were the desired characteristics for a new dean: leadership, integrity, peer recognition, dynamism, research, scholarship, creativity, and imagination.  In other words, we were looking for another Henry Manne. By his remarkable accomplishments, Henry earned our respect and admiration.  Along with his devotion to his family and close ties to his many friends, Henry Manne was, all in all, quite an extraordinary man.

Other tributes to Henry include this one by economist David Henderson.

Henry Manne was a scholar of the highest order, a congenial professional and a lover of liberty. We shall miss him greatly.

Lawrence W. Reed
January 19, 2015

  • Lawrence W. Reed is FEE's President Emeritus, having previously served for nearly 11 years as FEE’s president (2008-2019). He is also FEE's Humphreys Family Senior Fellow and Ron Manners Global Ambassador for Liberty. His Facebook page is here and his personal website is