Buchanan, James M. (1919-)

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.

James Buchanan was born in October 1919. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he enrolled in the economics doctoral program at the University of Chicago, where he received his doctorate in economics in 1948. When he started at ...

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