James Buchanan

Biography for James Buchanan on http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/buch.htm

James Buchanan fick Nobelpriset i ekonomi 1986

James M. Buchanan, Nobel Prize winner in Economic Science, 1986, is currently Advisory General Director of the Center for Political Economy and Harris University Professor at George Mason University.

See also James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy

Professor Buchanan received his doctorate from the University of Chicago (1948) and subsequently taught at the University of Tennessee, Florida State University, University of Virginia, UCLA, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where he established the Center for Study of Public Choice. He moved from the Center to George Mason University in 1983.

Holder of four honorary doctoral degrees from Universities worldwide, and Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association, Professor Buchanan is author of over thirteen books and hundreds of articles in the areas of public finance, public choice, constitutional economics and economic philosophy.

He is best known for such works as Fiscal Theory and Political Economy, The Calculus of Consent, The Limits of Liberty, Democracy in Deficit, The Power to Tax, and The Reason of Rules

The Center for the Study of Public Choice is a world-renowned center for scholarship that accommodates visitors from throughout the world and offers students rich opportunities both for research and for meeting other scholars. Both the Center and the department provide work space and equipment for students receiving financial aid. Every year the Center funds three or four graduate students who have completed their comprehensives.

Dr. Buchanan won the 1986 Nobel Prize in economics for his public choice theory of political decision making. Dr. Buchanan is executive director of the Center for Study of Public Choice, which applies scientific economic methods to the "public choice behavior" of voters, party leaders, and other politicians, lobbyists, and bureaucrats.

"Choice" is the act of selecting from among alternatives. "Public" refers to people. But people do not choose. Choices are made by individuals, and these may be "private" or "public." A person makes private choices as he goes about the ordinary business of living. He makes "public choices" when he selects among alternatives for others as well as for himself. Such choices become the objects of inquiry in Public Choice.

While traditional economic theory has been narrowly interpreted to include only the private choices of individuals in the market process, traditional political science has rarely analyzed individuals choice behavior. Public Choice is the intersection of these two disciplines; the institutions are those of political science, and the method is that of economic theory.

Public Choice scholars are perhaps best characterized by their emphasis on comparative institutional analysis, and, in particular, by their concentration on the necessary relationship between economic and political institutions. While many orthodox social scientists have inferred that governmental regulation may be substituted for free market process whenever imperfections are present in the latter, Public Choice students are unwilling to take such a logical leap. They are realists who do not view the government as necessarily performing less poorly than the market. Public Choice analysts share a lack of enthusiasm for, but not an unwillingness to turn, to government for the solution to innumerable problems. The realization is that markets are imperfect, but that alternative institutions (i.e., government) may also have defects.

The Public Choice Society

The Public Choice Society is loosely affiliated with the journal Public Choice, published by Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Innehållsförteckning/Table of Contents 1995-1998

This journal (originally called Papers in Non-Market Decision-Making) is internationally recognized as an authoritative source for original scholarly work and book reviews written from the unique public choice perspective.

Mancur Olson

Professor Mancur Olson is recognized as one of a handful of scholars responsible for changing the field of economics to ensure that politics became an integral part of economic thinking and policy formation. His work emphasized that a country's economic policies and the quality of its legal institutions primarily determine its economic performance. The Center on Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector (IRIS) was launched under Olson's direction in 1990 with support of the US Agency for International Development to apply his thinking to the problems of developing countries and those undergoing the transition from communism. .... more

Two books by Olson

Two books by Olson, The Logic of Collective Action and "The Rise and Decline of Nations" - på svenska "Nationers uppgång och fall - ekonomisk tillväxt, stagflation och samhällens förkalkning" , are considered seminal works in economics and political science. The former book showed that in most cases there is a divergence between what individuals want and what they are able to achieve as a group, while the latter book showed how the operation of interest groups can impede economic progress.

His most recent work had addressed the origins of public-good-providing governments, the fiscal policies of democracies and autocracies, and the role of property and contract rights in economic development.

Recent publications include "The Secular Increase in European Unemployment Rates" in European Economic Review (1995), "The Devolution of the Nordic & Teutonic Economies" in AEA Papers and Proceedings (May 1995), "Why the Transition from Communism is So Difficult" in Eastern Economic Journal (Fall 1995), and "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," (with Martin C. McGuire) in The Journal of Economic Literature (March 1996).

"We will have Mancur's theories and published works forever," says Peter Murrell, a University of Maryland Professor and colleague of Olson. "What we will miss is the irrepressible intellectual, playing with theories from all disciplines; a Michael Jordan of the mind, who in debate would demonstrate the force of his ideas with powerful logic while simultaneously revealing his humanity with a smile, a joke, and many kind words."