James M. Buchanan Jr.

DEFINITION of 'James M. Buchanan Jr.'

An American economist and winner of the 1986 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his contributions to public choice theory. Born in Tennessee in 1919, Buchanan Jr. earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and has taught at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and George Mason University. Along with fellow economist Gordon Tullock, he wrote the famous book "The Calculus of Consent".

BREAKING DOWN 'James M. Buchanan Jr.'

Public choice economics applies economics to political decision making. For example, public choice theory defies the conventional wisdom that politicians act in the best interests of their constituents and instead analyzes how incentives shape politicians' choices to act in their own self-interest.

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