The Essential James Buchanan

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The Essential James Buchanan includes a new book, accompanying website and animated videos, which spotlight the famed American economist.

Published by the Fraser Institute, the book (authored by Donald J. Boudreaux, professor of economics at George Mason University and Randall G. Holcombe, professor of economics at Florida State University) outlines Buchanan’s key insights on how people make decisions.

Born in rural Tennessee in 1919, from an early age Buchanan developed a deep skepticism of elites and political power. He earned a PhD in economics at the University of Chicago.

He taught at several universities in the United States including the University of Virginia before settling into George Mason University in 1983 where he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his book The Calculus of Consent (co-authored with Gordon Tullock more than 20 years earlier). Buchanan’s work evolved into an entire field of economics known as “public choice” and reflects his deep contributions to economic understanding.

Buchanan retired from George Mason in 1999 but continued to conduct seminars for graduate students. He died in Blacksburg, Virginia in 2013 after a brief illness at the age of 93.


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