Liberty, Economics, and Evidence

Fred Frohock, David J. Sylvan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Relationships in liberal theory between liberty and economic well‐being are empirical propositions: (a) economic conditions can reach a level so low as to make the effective establishment of liberty impossible; (b) the marginal value of economic gain diminishes with respect to the value of liberty as economic conditions improve; and (c) the priority standing of liberty requires the development of social forms and conditions necessary for the establishment of liberty. Empirical data, however, do not support these assumptions. A more complex relationship between liberty and economic well‐being is suggested, where (a) liberty is needed as a first condition to increase economic well‐being, and (b) the very distinction between political values like liberty and economic values is jeopardized. A fusion of politics and economics may be required to account for these relationships, a point re‐emphasizing the sensitivity of normative theory to empirical evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-555
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Liberty, Economics, and Evidence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this