James M. Buchanan Jr.


James M. Buchanan Jr.

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James M. Buchanan Jr.
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1986

Born: 3 October 1919, Murfreesboro, TN, USA

Died: 9 January 2013, Blacksburg, VA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Center for Study of Public Choice, Fairfax, VA, USA

Prize motivation: “for his development of the contractual and constitutional bases for the theory of economic and political decision-making”

Prize share: 1/1


James Buchanan was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA. He attended the University of Tennessee, and after serving five years in the navy during WWII, he studied at the University of Chicago where he received his Ph.D. in 1948. He taught at a number of universities in the US. In 1969, he became the first director of the Center for the Study of Public Choice at the University of Virginia.


James Buchanan was awarded the Economic Sciences Prize for his contributions to the theory of political decision-making and public economics. Traditional economic theory explains in great detail how consumers make decisions regarding purchase of goods, choice of work, product investments etc. In a series of studies, Buchanan has developed a corresponding theory of decision-making in the public sector. His best-known work is Calculus of Consent (1962), written in collaboration with Gordon Tullock.

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MLA style: James M. Buchanan Jr. – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Mon. 2 Oct 2023. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/1986/buchanan/facts/>

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