Center for Study of Public Choice

Gordon Tullock

February 13, 1922 - November 3, 2014


We are deeply saddened this day to report that Gordon Tullock, who co-founded the Public Choice Society, has passed away at the age of 92. Gordon was an intellectual force who made seminal contributions in the economic analysis of several fields, including law, politics & voting, biology, and the philosophy of science. He will be missed by all who knew him.

-- Roberta Q. Herzberg, Public Choice Society President (2014-2016)

Gordon Tullock was the cofounder, along with James Buchanan, of public choice theory and the co-author of Calculus of Consent. Professor Tullock received a J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1947. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Chicago in 1992. Following periods of employment as an attorney at law and in the US Department of State, Professor Tullock taught at the University of South Carolina, the University of Virginia, Rice University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, George Mason University and the University of Arizona.

In 1966, Professor Tullock became the Founding Editor of the Journal of Non-Market Decision Making (later renamed Public Choice). He remained Senior Editor of Public Choice until May 1990. In 1968 (together with Charles Goetz) he established the Center for Studies in Public Choice (renamed the Center for Study of Public Choice in 1969 when James Buchanan joined Virginia Tech and became Director of the Center).

Professor Tullock is author of twenty-three books and several hundred articles in economics, public choice, law and economics, bio-economics and foreign affairs. He is best known for such works as The Calculus of Consent (with James M. Buchanan), The Logic of the Law, The Politics of Bureaucracy, The Social Dilemma, Autocracy, The Economics of Non-Human Societies, Rent Seeking and On Voting. Professor Tullock's 1967 article entitled: 'The Welfare Costs of Tariffs, Monopolies and Theft' is a widely cited classic that has generated a major ongoing research program in the political economy of rent seeking. Professor Tullock has served as president of the Public Choice Society, the European Public Choice Society, the Southern Economic Association and the Western Economic Association. In 1998, Professor Tullock was honored as Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association.

On November 21, 2008, the Center joined the George Mason Law School in honoring the distinguished career of Gordon Tullock with a retirement celebration at the campus in Arlington. The event was attended by Center faculty, staff and students, GMU president Alan Merten, and the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Jack Censer.



With his retirement, Gordon became a Professor Emeritus of Law and retired to Arizona. He died at the age of 92.


Reaction to the death of Gordon Tullock:

The Washington Post

Marginal Revolution


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