Faculty & Staff Directory


Picture of James R. Otteson

James R. Otteson

Professor of Economics and Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics

Dr. Otteson joined Wake Forest in the fall of 2013 as Executive Director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism and Teaching Professor of Political Economy. He currently holds the Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics. Before coming to Wake Forest, Dr. Otteson was joint professor of philosophy and economics, and philosophy department chair, at Yeshiva University. He has taught previously at New York University, Georgetown University, and the University of Alabama. He also serves currently as a Research Professor in the Freedom Center and in the Philosophy Department at the University of Arizona, and he is a Senior Scholar at the Fund for American Studies in Washington, DC. Dr. Otteson received a BA from the Program of Liberal Studies (the "Great Books" program) at Notre Dame, an MA in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago.

Dr. Otteson's scholarship focuses on political economy, political philosophy, history and philosophy of economics, and eighteenth-century moral and political thought. He is an expert on Adam Smith, on eighteenth-century political and moral philosophy, on the moral foundations of competing systems of political economy, and on the comparative evaluation of competing systems of political economy.

  • Ph D, University of Chicago (Philosophy) - 1997
  • MA, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Philosophy) - 1992
  • BA, University of Notre Dame- 1990

Research Interests

  • Business ethics, political economy, the history of economic thought, moral and political philosophy.

Teaching Interests

  • Business ethics, comparative political economy, the moral foundation of economics.