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Ilia Reviews a Book by Ilya

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Free to Move—Final Cover

Political scientist Ilia Murtazashvili (University of Pittsburgh), has published a review of my book Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom, in Public Choice, a leading political economy journal. The review is available in an (at least temporarily) non-paywall version here. Here’s the intro paragraph:

In the Introduction to Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom, Ilya Somin mentions that once he started to think about foot voting and human freedom, it was hard to think about anything else. I suspect most will feel the same way because of the clarity of the arguments presented and the charitable consideration of critical perspectives. One of the central arguments—that foot voting makes us better off, including migration—is an especially timely one given the opposition of populists around the world to free movement of people. It is also timeless, as it shows that foot voting has over the past several centuries provided a foundation for improvements in collective well-being. Free to Move shows that foot voting works better than we think, is more common than we think, and that there are many opportunities to improve political freedom by encouraging foot voting.

Prof. Murtazashvili has some generous things to say about the book, which I greatly appreciate! But, more importantly, the last part of the review offers some useful criticisms and multiple excellent suggestions for future research that I believe are likely to be of value to scholars in multiple disciplines, including law, economics,  and political science, among others.

While the review is a valuable contribution to scholarly discourse, I fear it may also contribute to the already serious problem of #IlyaConfusion, which up until now has mostly involved Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute and myself. Murtazashvili spells his name differently; and, unlike the other two, he is not from Russia.

But such distinctions may not keep this highly contagious virus from spreading! It has already afflicted academics, federal judges, members of the media, and even people who confuse my wife Alison with Shapiro’s wife Kristin, even though the two don’t actually look much alike.

To protect the unsuspecting reading public, I may have to add Murtazashvili to my guide to how to tell the Ilyas apart.

For a previous example of one Ilya reviewing a book written by another, see my review of Shapiro’s Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court.


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