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    Grand Rapids, Mich., May 3, 2022 – In recognition of Erik W. Matson’s outstanding research in the fields of ethics, politics and economics, the Acton Institute will be awarding him the 2022 Novak Award.

    Erik W. Matson
    Erik W. Matson

    Named after the distinguished American theologian, the late Michael Novak, this $15,000 award rewards new outstanding scholarly research concerning the relationship between religion, economic freedom, and the free and virtuous society. This award recognizes those scholars early in their academic career who demonstrate outstanding intellectual merit in advancing the understanding of religion’s connection to human dignity, the rule of law, limited government, religious liberty and freedom in economic life.

    Erik W. Matson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center and the Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Program in George Mason University’s Department of Economics. He serves as an Online Course Lecturer at The King’s College, New York. Previously he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at New York University. He earned a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University in 2017.

    Erik has published widely on Adam Smith, David Hume, and economic philosophy. A collection of his essays on welfare and the philosophy of behavioral paternalism will be published this year by the Institute for Economic Affairs: New Paternalism Meets Old Wisdom: A Smithian Critique. He and Jordan Ballor, Director of Research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, are producing a multi-volume project on the history of Christian economic thought, with B&H Academic.

    The Novak Award forms part of a range of academic grants and awards available from the Acton Institute that support those engaged in serious reflection and research on the relationship between religion, the free market, limited government and the rule of law. Details of these academic scholarships may be found at

    Follow Acton news and events for more information about the Calihan Lecture, in which Dr. Matson will discuss some of his research and be presented with the Novak Award.

    About the Acton Institute

    With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

    The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

    Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting Eric Kohn at (616) 454-3080 or at [email protected]