Profile Major Works Resources

James M. Buchanan Jr., 1919-2013

Photo of J.M.Buchanan

American New Institutionalist economist.  Along with his colleague Gordon Tullock, James Buchanan was a founder of the "public choice" school, applying rational choice to the analysis of economic regulations, public goods and politics.

Originating from Tennessee, James M. Buchanan received his BA from Middle Tennessee State in 1940 and, after service in the US Navy during WWII, obtained his Ph.D. from Chicago in 1948 under Frank Knight.  Buchanan taught at a variety of universities, initially Tennessee in 1948, then Florida State in 1951, the subsequently Virginia - University of Virginia in 1956, then Virginia Tech from 1969 and finally George Mason in 1983 (as a result, the public choice school is sometimes called the "Virginia School").

James Buchanan won the Nobel Memorial Prize in 1986.



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Major Works of James M. Buchanan

  • "The Pure Theory of Public Finance: A suggested approach", 1949, JPE
  • "Knut Wicksell on Marginal Cost Pricing" 1951, Southern EJ [pdf]
  • "Individual Choice in Voting and the Market", 1954, JPE
  • "Social Choice in Voting and Free Markets", 1954, JPE
  • Public Principles of Public Debt, 1958. [lib, v.2]
  • "Positive Economics, Welfare Economics and Political Economy", 1959, J Law Econ
  • Fiscal Theory and Political Economy, 1960.
  • "Externality", with W.C. Stubblebine, 1962, Economica
  • The Calculus of Consent: Logical foundations for constitutional democracy, with G. Tullock, 1962. [lib, v.3]
  • "What Should Economists Do?", 1964, Southern EJ
  • "Ethical Rules, Expected Values and Large Numbers", 1965, Ethics
  • "Economics and Its Scientific Neighbors", 1966, in Krupp, editor, Structure of Economic Science
  • Public Finance in Democratic Process: Fiscal institutions and democratic choice, 1967. [lib, v.4]
  • Demand and Supply of Public Goods, 1968. [lib, v.5]
  • "An Economist's Approach to Scientific Politics", 1968, in Parsons, editor, Perspectives in the Study of Politics.
  • Cost and Choice: An inquiry into economic theory, 1969. [lib, v.6]
  • "Is Economics the Science of Choice?", 1969, in Streissler, editor, Roads to Freedom
  • "Notes for an Economic Theory of Socialism", 1970, Public Choice
  • Academia in Anarchy, with N.Devletoglou, 1971.
  • "Equality as Fact and Norm", 1971, Ethics
  • "Before Public Choice", 1973, in Tullock, editor, Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy
  • The Limits of Liberty: Between Anarchy and Leviathan, 1975. [lib, v.7]
  • "Public Finance and Public Choice", 1975, National Tax Journal
  • "A Contractarian Paradigm for Applying Economic Theory", 1975, AER
  • "Barro on the Ricardian Equivalence Theorem", 1976, JPE
  • "Methods and Morals in Economics", 1976, in Breit and Culbertson, editors, Science and Ceremony
  • Democracy in Deficit: the political legacy of Lord Keynes, with R.E. Wagner, 1977. [lib, v.8]
  • The Consequences of Mr Keynes, with R.E. Wagner and J. Burton,1978 [iea]
  • "Markets, States and the Extent of Morals", 1978, AER
  • Freedom in Constitutional Contract, 1978.
  • What Should Economists Do?, 1979.
  • The Power to Tax: the analytical foundations of a fiscal constitution, with G. Brennan, 1980. [lib, v.9]
  • "The Homogenization of Heterogeneous Inputs", with R.D. Tollison, 1981, AER
  • "Introduction: LSE cost theory in retrospect", 1981, in Buchanan, editor, L.S.E. Essays on Cost, 1981 [lib]
  • "The Domain of Subjective Economics: Between predictive science and moral philosophy", 1982, in Kirzner, editor, Method, Process and Austrian Economics
  • "Order Defined in the Process of Emergence", 1982, Literature of Liberty
  • The Reason of Rules: constitutional political economy with G. Brennan, 1985. [lib, v.10]
  • Liberty, Market and the State, 1986.
  • "The Constitution of Economic Policy", 1987, AER [nobel]
  • Economics: between predictive science and moral philosophy, with G. Brennan, 1988.
  • Explorations in Constitutional Economics, 1989.
  • The Economics and Ethics of Constitutional Order, 1991.
  • "From the Inside Looking Out", 1991, in Szenberg, editor, Eminent Economists
  • Constitutional Economics.
  • Better than Ploughing and other personal essays. 1992
  • "Economic freedom and competitive federalism: prospects for the new century", 1996, Nobelists for the Future
  • "Public Choice: the origin and development of a research program" [pdf]
  • "Has Economics Lost Its Way? Reflections on economist's enterprise at Century's End", 1997 [pdf]
  • "Generalized Increasing Returns, Euler's Theorem, and Competitive Equilibrium"  with Yong J. Yoon, 1999, HOPE 
  • Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, 1999 [lib, oll], 20 vols.
  • "Morality and Community in the Extended Market Order", 2001, The Legacy of Friedrich von Hayek, vol. 7: [lib: audio]




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Resources on James M. Buchanan

  • Buchanan Festschrift at George Mason University -- lots of articles on Buchanan! [link defunct]
  • "Interview with Buchanan", 1995, in Region, FRB Minneapolis [online]
  • "The Intellectual Portrait Series: A Conversation with James M. Buchanan", 2002, at LibertyFund, Pt. 1 [lib], Pt.2 [lib]
  • "Interview with Buchanan", 2004, at Richmond FRB [pdf]
  • 1986 Nobel Memorial Prize at press release, facts, biography, lecture
  • James Buchanan page at LibertyFund
  • Center for Study of Public Choice (formerly James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy) at GMU  [online]
  • "James Buchanan, 1919-" by Peter Boetkke and C.J. Coyne, [online]
  • "James Buchanan, the Creation of Public Choice Theory" by Robert Formiani, at Economic Insights, Dallas FRB [pdf]
  • "Buchanan and Shackle on Cost, Choice and Subjective Economics" by S C Littlechild, 2002, Method, Morals and Constitutional Economics
  • James Buchanan, 1919-2013 - reactions at GMU 2013
  • Buchanan obituary at NY Times, 2013
  • Buchanan obituary at the Independent, 2013
  • Buchanan obituary at American Spectator
  • Buchanan obituary at Heartland Institute
  • Buchanan obituary at CEI
  • Buchanan obituary at Mercatus
  • Buchanan obituary at the Beacon, Independent Institute
  • Buchanan obituary at Ricochet
  • "A Note about James Buchanan", Cornerstone Magazine, 2013 [GMU online]
  • Buchanan obituary at Cato Institute
  • "James M. Buchanan, friend of liberty" by James Dorn, Cato Institute [online]
  • "James Buchanan" at Econ J W [pdf]
  • Buchanan Page at Nobel Prize Internet Archive
  • Buchanan entry at Britannica
  • Buchanan entry at Concise Encycl of Economics, LibertyFund
  • Wikipedia


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