1986 Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences
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  • James M. Buchanan

    James McGill Buchanan Jr. (3 October 1919 – 9 January 2013) was an American economist known for his work on public choice theory (included in his most famous work, co-authored with Gordon Tullock, The Calculus of Consent, 1962), for which he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1986. Buchanan's work initiated research on how politicians' and bureaucrats' self-interest, utility maximization and other non-wealth-maximizing considerations affect their decision-making. He was a member of the Board of Advisors of the Independent Institute, a member (and for a time president) of the Mont Pelerin Society, a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute and professor at George Mason University.


    Buchanan, James M. (1919-2013), by Peter T. Leeson, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "James M. Buchanan is one of the originators of public choice theory and among the foremost economists of the 20th century. Together with Gordon Tullock, Buchanan revolutionized the way economists view political economy by introducing motivational symmetry between public and private actors. Before Buchanan's contributions, it was standard practice to view market failures as prima facie evidence of the need for government intervention. Public choice theory forced scholars to confront the fact that government failures may be worse than the market failures the government is introduced to correct."
    Related Topics: Government, Politics


    TheAdvocates.org - James Buchanan
    200x200 JPEG, grayscale


    3 Oct 1919, James McGill Buchanan Jr., in Murfreesboro, Tennessee


    9 Jan 2013, in Blacksburg, Virginia


    Biography of James M. Buchanan (1919-2013), The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
    "James Buchanan is the cofounder, along with Gordon Tullock, of public choice theory. Buchanan entered the University of Chicago's graduate economics program as a 'libertarian socialist.' After six weeks of taking Frank Knight's course in price theory, recalls Buchanan, he had been converted into a zealous free marketer."
    Economics - Faculty and Staff: James M Buchanan
    Emeritus Faculty, George Mason University
    "James M. Buchanan, Nobel Prize winner in Economic Science, 1986, is currently Advisory General Director of the Center for Study of Public Choice, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, Board of Visitors, President, and Faculty George Mason University 15 Oct 1999, and University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics and Philosophy, Board of Visitors & Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, VA Apr 26 1999."
    Faculty and Staff - Center for Study of Public Choice
    "James Buchanan was a strong proponent of the work ethic, never more so than in regards to himself, and he continued developing his ideas into his last days. In 2012, Dr. Buchanan lectured on 'Institutional Sources of America's Fiscal Tragedy,' to the Summer Institute in Richmond, VA in June. The month of August brought Buchanan to Fairfax and the annual Outreach program with Buchanan presenting 'Challenges to Public Choice.'"
    Laissez Faire Books
    "Buchanan has been extraordinarily productive. He wrote over 300 articles and 75 reviews ... He is the author or co-author of 37 books ... The best-known work on public choice economics is The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy (1965), which Buchanan wrote with Tullock when both were at the University of Virginia. If this wasn't really the first book with public choice type of analysis, it did inspire large numbers of economists to pursue public choice and produce perhaps thousands of books and articles over the years."

    Awards Received

    Upd1986 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, granted by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
    Includes curriculum vitae, prize lecture and banquet speech
    "The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the1986 Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences to Professor James McGill Buchanan, George Mason University, Virginia, USA, for his development of the contractual and constitutional bases for the theory of economic and political decision-making."


    George Mason University, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics
    Institute for Humane Studies, Guest lecturer
    Mont Pelerin Society, President, 1984-86

    Web Pages

    Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education: James Buchanan - Libertarian
    Biography (from Laissez Faire Books) and photo
    "Buchanan was awarded the Nobel Prize (1986) as well as the George Washington Honor Medal, the Legion de la Libertad (Mexico) and other commendations. He has received honorary doctorates from 13 universities in the United States, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Switzerland."


    James M. Buchanan at IDEAS
    RePEc (Research Papers in Economics)


    James Buchanan's Subjectivist Economics, by Sheldon Richman, 13 Aug 2013
    Reviews Buchanan's writings in What Should Economists Do?, a collection of several of his essays
    "James Buchanan ... was well known for his pioneering work in Public Choice ..., constitutional economics ..., and many other key subjects in political economy. Less well known ... is his thinking on the nature of economics itself. ... Buchanan may be seen at least as a fellow traveler of the Austrian school of economics, and I commend his writings in this area to anyone interested in the tradition of Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, and Kirzner."
    James M. Buchanan and the Rebirth of Political Economy, by Peter Boettke, Economics and its Discontents, 1998
    Examines Buchanan's contributions in bursting the "romantic vision of political science," advancing subjectivism as a challenge to modern economics formalism and re-integrating moral philosophy into economics
    "Buchanan has made original contributions to methodology, social philosophy and public policy economics ... He was a non-Keynesian when Keynesianism was en vogue; he pursued a subjectivist research programme when the majority of the profession lost sight of the subjectivist roots of the neoclassical revolution; ... and he reintroduced into economic questions moral philosophical concerns at a time when economists were content to abandon the metaphysical to worship at the shrine of scientism."


    Interview with James Buchanan, The Region, Sep 1995
    Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Banking and Policy Issues Magazine. Topics range from The Calculus of Consent, public choice theory, monetary policy, the Federal Reserve and more
    "I started out as a regular public finance economist. Once you start in that direction, you soon come to the question of how it is that taxes and expenditure decisions and budgets get made, so you're forced to think about the political process. One of my first pieces goes all the way back to 1949 and was nothing more than asking economists to think about their political models. What model of politics are you assuming before you start talking about what's good taxation? What's good spending?"

    Books Authored

    The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy, by James M. Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, 1962
    Electronic text available at The Library of Economics and Liberty.
    Related Topic: Democracy
    The Power to Tax: Analytical Foundations of a Fiscal Constitution
        by Geoffrey Brennan, James M. Buchanan, 1980
    Related Topic: Taxation


    A Conversation With Hayek and Buchanan, Part I, by James M. Buchanan, Friedrich Hayek, 1978
    The Idea Channel, 52 minutes: "Nobel laureates Hayek and Buchanan engage in a spirited discussion of von Hayek's controversial work, 'Constitution of Liberty'"
    Related Topic: Liberty
    A Conversation With Hayek and Buchanan, Part II, by James M. Buchanan, Friedrich Hayek, 1978
    The Idea Channel, 48 minutes: "Nobel laureates Hayek and Buchanan continue their discussion of von Hayek's controversial work, 'Constitution of Liberty'"
    Related Topic: Liberty

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "James M. Buchanan" as of 05 Aug 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.