Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Samuel . Freeman


This dissertation considers three major challenges to egalitarian liberal institutions made by classical liber-

als: that egalitarian liberal institutions involve too much coercive interference with individual economic

decisions, that free markets tend to do better at rewarding people on the basis of their economic choices,

and that only by recognizing full liberal rights of ownership can a society best promote a stable property

regime consistent with our pre-political conventions of ownership. Each of these objections fails, but they

point to an underlying concern that egalitarian liberal institutions fail to adequately protect economic


The dissertation then develops and defends a conception of economic freedom that is reflected in egalitar-

ian liberal institutions. Economic freedom depends on the quality and availability of options individuals

have in markets, especially the quality of exit options available to avoid coercive or exploitative conditions

of employment or exchange. It then extends this view to the idea of property-owning democracy and

worker-ownership of firms.

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