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A tribute to Earl A. Thompson and, in his own words, a summary of his general economic and social theory


  • Don Allison


  • Thomas Borcherding


Brilliant but little known, in part because his style was dense and crucial papers unpublished, Earl Thompson reformulated standard theory to achieve policy relevance, focusing on significant rent-seeking inefficiencies stemming from private information and transaction costs. Drawing on history, he showed a vast array of institutions to be efficient which economists had previously found to be inefficient, modeled governments and their nature, defined government’s functions, and showed why dominant states rise and fall. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Don Allison & Thomas Borcherding, 2013. "A tribute to Earl A. Thompson and, in his own words, a summary of his general economic and social theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 7-29, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:156:y:2013:i:1:p:7-29
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-013-0088-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Earl A. Thompson, 1977. "A Reformulation of Macroeconomic Theory," UCLA Economics Working Papers 091, UCLA Department of Economics.
    2. Earl A. Thompson & Roger L. Faith, 1980. "Social Interaction Under Truly Perfect Information," UCLA Economics Working Papers 175, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. Thompson, Earl A & Faith, Roger L, 1981. "A Pure Theory of Strategic Behavior and Social Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 366-380, June.
    4. Thompson, Earl A, 1979. "An Economic Basis for the "National Defense Argument" for Aiding Certain Industries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-36, February.
    5. Earl A. Thompson, 2007. "From social insecurity to social security: the genius of democratic politics," Global Business and Economics Review, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 9(1), pages 1-7.
    6. Earl A. Thompson, 1973. "The Optimal Role of the Government for a Competitive Economy Containing Money," UCLA Economics Working Papers 039, UCLA Department of Economics.
    7. Thompson, Earl A., 1980. "Characteristics of worlds with perfect strategic communication," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 111-119, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Matt Lindsay & Robert Deacon & Darren Filson, 2014. "Tom Borcherding," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 1-6, July.


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