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James M. Buchanan – Doing away with discrimination and domination


  • Horn, Karen


Winner of the Nobel Prize in 1986, James M. Buchanan has been one of the pioneers and founders of Public Choice theory and Constitutional Economics. The key to Buchanan's work lies in his deep-rooted devotion to the notions of voluntary exchange, self-determination, individualism, nondiscrimination, and absence of coercion. In this, Buchanan is a rather unique figure within his peer group of Nobel Laureates. This paper provides a short biographical sketch, highlights Buchanan's lasting achievements, defines and analyzes the overlaps of his work with the writings of other Nobel Laureates, such as Paul A. Samuelson, Kenneth J. Arrow, Friedrich A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Gary Becker, Ronald Coase, Douglass North, Vernon Smith, Elinor Ostrom, Finn Kydland and Edward Prescott. The paper also looks at the future of economics as an academic discipline in general. Future research would greatly benefit from an attitude inspired by the Scottish Enlightenment, focusing on empirical observation and practical reason, concentrating on rules and institutions, looking more at exchange relationships than at pure allocational choice, and opening up to heterodox approaches and interdisciplinary research.

Suggested Citation

  • Horn, Karen, 2011. "James M. Buchanan – Doing away with discrimination and domination," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 358-366.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:80:y:2011:i:2:p:358-366
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.07.011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James M. Buchanan, 1954. "Social Choice, Democracy, and Free Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 114-114.
    2. Buchanan,James M. & Congleton,Roger D., 2006. "Politics by Principle, Not Interest," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521031325, November.
    3. Buchanan, James M, 1993. "Public Choice after Socialism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(1), pages 67-74, September.
    4. Buchanan, James M., 2001. "Notes on Nobelity," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1986-2, Nobel Prize Committee.
    5. James M. Buchanan, 1954. "Individual Choice in Voting and the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 334-334.
    6. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Karen Horn, 2020. "Richard E. Wagner (Ed.): James M. Buchanan—A theorist of political economy and social philosophy," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 259-265, June.

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    More about this item


    Public choice; James M. Buchanan; Nobel prize;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals


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