Colloquium for the Advancement of Free-Enterprise Education (CAFÉ)


Welcome to the Colloquium for the Advancement of Free-Enterprise Education (CAFÉ)

CAFÉ’s Mission

To advance an accurate and objective understanding of free-enterprise principles through a variety of complementary activities.

Why is CAFÉ important?

All economic activity takes place within a socio-legal environment. A free-enterprise environment is based on the ownership and exchange of private property with property rights enforced and protected by various social rules and laws. To the extent that these conditions exist, economic growth is enhanced, innovation and technological progress occur, and an environment of increasing prosperity and improving standards of living follow. An educated understanding of the benefits of open markets tends to keep societies on free-enterprise paths, to their general benefit.

How does CAFÉ educate?

CAFÉ employs creative ways to communicate the value and importance of freedom of trade, investment and innovation. CAFÉ carefully and objectively investigates the costs and benefits of alternative economic policies through teaching, research, invited speakers, workshops and community and university-wide events and similar activities. A major focus of the colloquium is to clarify the working of unfettered markets to students who will be able to rely on this grounded knowledge and share it with others throughout the rest of their lives.

CAFÉ focuses on the examination of significant ideas and the education of advocates for examining those ideas in the fields of academics and business. Student-development activities will include research, both high-level academic and more applied, as well as introductory connections to organizations like the Foundation for Economic Education, the Institute for Humane Studies, Students for Liberty and others.

CAFÉ’s research includes but is not confined to examining the economic and social implications of the innovations that have produced the sharing economy in all its manifestations. These innovations include, for example, the automation of human tasks.

Welcome to the Colloquium for the Advancement of Free-Enterprise Education (CAFÉ). We are thrilled that you are interested in what this new fellowship program has to offer. CAFÉ teaches business students the history of economic ideas with an emphasis on free markets, free trade and innovation. Students learn about the foundations of economic freedom and the function of ownership rights in production and how this affects business practice. Students will leave the program with a grounded knowledge of the benefits of unfettered markets and their role in a country’s economic growth and prosperity.

Not limited to classroom instruction, the colloquium also plans outside activities for fellowship students, including conference trips and seminars.

We will open up the application process in the fall for the 2020 calendar year. If you are interested, please contact Pam Villarreal, associate director.

Stan Liebowitz Co-Director
Pam Villarreal Associate Director
Peter Lewin

Peter Lewin

Director, CAFÉ

Peter Lewin was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. He received a BA (honors) degree in economics and history from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1969. He earned a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago and in 1979. “I was fortunate to have had four Nobel Prize winners as teachers.” In January 1979, he moved to Dallas. After seven years as an academic he joined a friend in a startup business called Soft Warehouse later changed to CompUSA where he was a founding shareholder. In 1992, he returned to academics. He is the author of one book, and editor of another, and author of many academic and popular articles. His most recent research is in the area of capital theory and finance relating to the role of time in entrepreneurial decision-making. His popular articles include topics like monetary policy, regulation and policy evaluation.

He is on the faculty network for the Foundation for Economic Education.

Chris Tsai

Stan Liebowtiz

Co-Director, CAFÉ

Stan Liebowitz is the Ashbel Smith Professor of Managerial Economics in the Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas. He holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and UCLA.

Dr. Liebowitz’s research interests include the economic impact of new technologies, intellectual property and piracy, the economics of networks, pricing issues, and antitrust. In addition to five books, he has written numerous academic articles as well as policy reports and articles in popular outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Reason Magazine and the National Review.

His research has been the focus of articles in the Economist, Financial Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and a program on the BBC. The papers he has written on network effects and lock-in culminated in a book, Winners, Losers & Microsoft: Competition and Antitrust in High Technology (Oakland, California: Independent Institute, 2001), which was positively reviewed in many outlets, including the Economist and the Wall Street Journal. His book Re-Thinking the Network Economy: The True Forces That Drive the Digital Marketplace (New York, AMACOM, 2002) was picked by Soundview Executive Books as one of the top 30 business books of 2002. His work on the impact of file-sharing was cited in the U.S. Supreme Court’s MGM Studios v. Grokster decision.

Dr. Liebowitz has been on the editorial board of several economics/law journals and is affiliated with the Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, The Heartland Institute and the Independent Institute. He currently is president of the Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues. He has consulted and testified internationally on issues related to antitrust, intellectual property and technology.

Pamela Villarreal

Pamela Villarreal

Associate Director, CAFÉ

Pamela Villarreal recently joined UT Dallas as CAFÉ’s associate director. She spent more than 10 years as a policy analyst/senior fellow for a free-market research organization. Her areas of research and specialty were personal savings and retirement accounts, tax reform, and government-entitlement programs. She authored or co-authored numerous publications on diverse topics such as medical malpractice reform, Medicaid reform, the disincentive effects of Social Security disability insurance and the fiscal future of Social Security and Medicare. She is a graduate of UT Dallas with a BS and an MS in economics.

The Colloquium for the Advancement of Free-Enterprise Education (CAFÉ) Fellowship is a yearlong commitment involving courses and other activities. Each year, CAFÉ will offer graduate and undergraduate Jindal School of Management students the opportunity to apply for a fellowship. Students who are accepted will receive stipends, paid at the completion of each semester during the calendar year.

Apply for the 2021 CAFE fellowship at the link below. Deadline for submitting your application is Oct. 24, 2020.

CAFE Undergraduate/Graduate Application

Fellowship application criteria:

  • Minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA preferred. Freshmen who have not completed a full semester will be evaluated based on their SAT scores and/or mid-term semester grade.
  • Previous course credit in principles of microeconomics (or equivalent) required, (Credit does not have to be from UT-Dallas). Freshmen who have not yet completed microeconomics can enroll concurrently with the CAFÉ program course.

Undergraduate Fellows will receive $2,000 for participation in:

  • Coursework with a minimum of 3.3 GPA in the course.
  • On-campus activities such as attending CAFÉ-sponsored guest speaker events and seminars.

Graduate Fellows will receive $3,000 a year, for participation in:

  • Coursework with a minimum of 3.3 GPA in the course.
  • On-campus activities such as attending CAFÉ-sponsored guest speaker events and seminars.

Required courses:

Course 1 Spring 2021 Semester (MECOxxx-TBA or BAxxx – TBA) Comparative Institutions of Production and Distribution – IEconomic history of civilization and history of political-economic-business ideas as they impact production and distribution systems. Related examination of the ideas and canonical texts in the development of classical liberalism and its critics. Critical analysis of the principles and methods of current mainstream economics in understanding the business world.

Course 2 Fall 2021 Semester (MECOxxx –TBA or BAxxx – TBA) Comparative Institutions of Production and Distribution – II Comparative Economic Experiences A continuation of Course 1 involving discussions of disparate impacts of economic systems on business practice, economic growth and national wealth. Students will conduct research on divergent pairs of otherwise similar countries, such as East and West Germany, Taiwan and China, and North and South Korea.

*The graduate CAFE class generally meets on Tuesday evenings. The undergraduate CAFE class generally meets on Tuesday afternoons during the spring semester and Thursday afternoons during the fall semester.


  • July, 2019 – In a commentary for the Heartland Institute’s Environment and Climate News, Senior Research Fellow Stan Liebowitz puts the cost of climate change in the U.S. in perspective. He concludes that despite the media hype and panic, economic damage costs of climate change over the future are quite small. (Click here for print version, page 21).
  • May, 2019 – Senior Research Fellow Stan Liebowitz was a guest on the McCuistion Show with panelist Daniel Vroonland, Superintendent of Mesquite Schools. The panelists discussed school finance issues and Dr. Liebowitz highlighted his study on the problems with traditional school ranking reports.
  • April 9, 2019 – In a Heartland Institute podcast, CAFÉ Research Fellow Seth Giertz talks with Joe Barnett about housing bubbles, property taxes and regulations that inhibit affordable housing.
  • March 11, 2019 – In the Dallas Morning News online, Senior Research Fellow Seth Giertz explains why state-level legislation that would cap property taxes would take fiscal accountability away from local governments.
  • March 1, 2019 – In a podcast from the Rio Grande Foundation, CAFÉ Co-Director Stan Liebowitz talks with Paul Gessing about his report on education rankings and why traditional ranking reports are often flawed.
  • February 11, 2019 – CAFE Co-Director Stan Liebowitz responded to a critique by Bruce Baker (National Education Policy Center) of his and Matt Kelly’s K-12 education rankings study. Liebowitz’ response can be found at the CATO at Liberty blog.
  • February 8, 2019 – In the Washington Examiner, Senior Research Fellow Seth Giertz explains how government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac contributed to the financial crisis and why they should be privatized.
  • January 22, 2019 – In a Heartland Institute podcast, CAFÉ Co-director Stan Liebowitz talks with Joe Barnett about his and co-author Matt Kelly’s recently published study on K-12 education rankings.
  • January 21, 2019 – In the print and the online edition of the Austin American Statesman, CAFÉ Associate Director Pamela Villarreal and co-author Donovan Choy explain the controversy over civil asset forfeiture and the need for state reforms.
  • January 2, 2019 – CAFÉ Associate Director Pam Villarreal talks about plastic bag bans, minimum wage, Social Security disability and Maine’s aging population with Joe Barnett, managing editor of Heartland Institute’s Tax and Budget News.
  • January 2, 2019 – In the Dallas Morning News, Peter Lewin explains how reducing the balance deficit is more important than reducing the trade deficit.


  • November 19, 2018 – In Forbes online, education writer Neil McCluskey discussed Stan Liebowitz’ and Matt Kelly’s education rankings study. Liebowitz’ and Kelly’s research has also been covered in the The Augusta Chronicle, San Bernardino Sun, Orange County Register, American Thinker, National Institute for Labor Relations Research and the Gaston Gazette.
  • November 13, 2018 – The CATO Institute published the education rankings study by Research fellows Stan Liebowitz and Matt Kelly.
  • October 13, 2018 – In the Dallas Morning News, Pamela Villarreal and Professor Peter Lewin explain why price gouging can be beneficial for victims of natural disasters.
  • October 9, 2018 – In the Wall Street Journal, asst. editor James Freeman refers to Stan Liebowitz’ and Matt Kelly’s Reason study on school rankings in his article on government budget restraints.
  • October 2018 – Taxi regulations may limit competition within the traditional taxi industry and may result in worse outcomes for consumers, according to a study coauthored by Research Fellow Matt Kelly and published at Institute for Justice.
  • September 26, 2018 – At the Foundation for Economic Education website, Professor Peter Lewin explains that the word “capitalism” has fallen out of favor, but it was Karl Marx who associated the term with greed and exploitation, To rehabilitate the word “capitalism,” we need to escape its nefarious Marxist connotations and understand it as that system that allows for and benefits from the use of capital, writes Lewin.
  • September 24, 2018 – CAFÉ Research fellows Stan Liebowitz’ and Matt Kelly’s study on education rankings was the feature cover story in the November 2018 issue of Reason Magazine (subscription required).
  • July 30, 2018 – CAFÉ Associate Director Pam Villarreal was quoted in an article from the Heartland Institute regarding the recent Texas Supreme Court decision on plastic bag bans.
  • July 5, 2018 – In a study on state education rankings, CAFÉ Research fellows Stan Liebowitz and Matt Kelly found that widely publicized education rankings based on aggregated test score data and other factors not related to learning are misleading. When disaggregating the data and excluding less informative factors, state rankings change significantly. Their work was published in the The Hill and also available on SSRN.
  • June 14, 2018 – In the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Dr. Seth Giertz and Research Fellow Matt Kelly write that federally subsidized low-income housing credits have not increased the quantity of affordable housing per dollar spent.
  • May 31, 2018 – On the Dallas Morning News blog, CAFÉ Research Fellow Matt Kelly made the case for why the Dallas City Council should move forward with a proposal to privatize the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center.
  • May 17, 2018 – In a recently released book Demographics and Entrepreneurship: Mitigating the Effects of an Aging Population, CAFÉ Senior Research Fellow Seth Giertz examines the relationship between taxation and entrepreneurship.
  • May 4, 2018 – In the Daily Caller, CAFE Associate Director Pamela Villarreal explains why Bernie Sanders’ proposed guaranteed jobs plan would grow the bureaucracy and crowd out private sector jobs.
  • April 17, 2018 – CAFE Research Fellow Matt Kelly interviews with Laura Rice on NPR’s Texas Standard.
  • April 13, 2018 – In the Dallas Morning News, Research Fellow Matthew Kelly argues for the reform of Texas’ convoluted alcohol laws.
  • April 12, 2018 – In Inside Sources, Professor Stan Liebowitz and Research Fellow Matthew Kelly make the case against “net neutrality”. They argue that if the foundations of such a policy were applied to the provision of other services, such as package delivery, customers would surely be dissatisfied.
  • April 12, 2018 – In the Dallas Morning News, Professor Seth Giertz and Research Fellow Matthew Kelly question whether tax-favored Opportunity Zones in Texas will really help poorly developed areas.
  • April 11, 2018 – At the Foundation for Economic Education, Professor Peter Lewin and Research Fellow Matthew Kelly argue that using Big Data to centrally plan the economy cannot replace the efficiency of a free market.
FEE Group Picture

Foundation for Economic Education Conference

June 13-15, 2019

The 2019 graduate and undergraduate cohorts recently attended FEECon 2019 in Atlanta, hosted by the Foundation for Economic Education. This year’s conference enriched students’ knowledge in a variety of topics, such as urban housing, entrepreneurship, education, poverty solutions and many other issues through the lens of free-market economic principles.

“I learned a lot more than I expected to, and over the course of 3-4 days, our cohort got so much closer as well.”

– VP, Undergraduate Cohort

“I enjoyed the trip immensely and thought that some of the discussions were really interesting and thought provoking. I also loved the range of speakers…”

– SM, Graduate Cohort

PJ O'Rourke

An Evening with P.J. O’Rourke

April 8, 2019

Veteran journalist and satirist P.J. O’Rourke offered a humorous but plain-spoken interpretation of economics for a students, professors and community members who attended a Jindal School event hosted by CAFÉ and featuring his latest book.(Continue reading)

CAFÉ Fall Semiar

CAFÉ Fall Seminar

November 2, 2018

A free-market economy is not only good for business, it helps improve society as a whole, according to Dr. David Henderson, who gave the keynote speech at a daylong seminar held Nov. 2 by the Naveen Jindal School of Management’s Colloquium for the Advancement of Free-Enterprise Education (CAFÉ). (Continue reading)

Johann Norberg comes to UTD

September 20, 2018

On September 20, Swedish author and historian Johan Norberg unveiled a screening of his new documentary, “Sweden: Lessons for America?” The event was sponsored by Free to Choose Media and hosted by the UT-Dallas CAFÉ program.

FEE Conference attendees

Foundation for Economic Education Conference

June 7-9, 2018

A few students from the undergraduate and graduate CAFÉ classes recently attended FEECon 2018 in Atlanta, hosted by the Foundation for Economic Education. The two-day conference featured speakers and a variety of panel discussions that addressed topics in urbanism, entrepreneurship, education and many other issues through the lens of free-market economic principles.

student with Lincoln Memorial

Students for Liberty Conference

March 2-4, 2018

Several students from undergraduate and graduate CAFÉ classes recently attended LibertyCon 2018, hosted by Students for Liberty in Washington, D.C. SFL featured a variety of speakers who shared their thoughts and experiences on the importance and value of free markets and individual liberty. Students had the opportunity to learn from business executives such as John Mackey, CEO/founder of Whole Foods; Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes; and Patrick Byrne, CEO of

Seth Giertz

Seth Giertz

Senior Research Fellow

Dr. Seth H. Giertz is a CAFÉ Senior Research Fellow and an associate professor of economics in the UT Dallas School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. From 2008 to 2015, he was an assistant and then associate professor of economics at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. From 2001 to 2008, he was a policy analyst for the Congressional Budget Office’s tax division. In 2005, Giertz served as a staff economist for the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. His research focus is in public finance and regional economics. Much of his work examines the effects of taxation on various parts of the economy. This includes the overall efficiency costs from taxation, as well as the effects of tax policy on charitable giving, education finance and interstate migration. He also conducts research into housing markets and credit risk associated with housing finance. Giertz often teaches undergraduate courses in public sector economics and urban and regional economics. At the graduate level, he teaches a course in the economics of taxation for PhD students. He earned his PhD in economics from Syracuse University in 2001 and his BA in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1994.

Matthew Kelly

Matthew Kelly

Research Fellow

Matthew Kelly is a CAFÉ Research Fellow. Previously, he worked as a policy analyst and content manager at the DeVoe L. Moore Center, an economic and public policy research center at Florida State University’s College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. Matthew has a BS in economics from Florida State University, with a minor in history. His writing has appeared in USA Today, the Tallahassee Democrat and other news outlets.