Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 227–247 | Cite as

On the extraordinary scholarly life and times of Gordon Tullock

  • William F. ShughartII
  • Robert D. Tollison
Original Paper


Gordon Tullock, who passed away at the age of 92 on November 3, 2014, ranks justly near the top of the list of the “founding fathers” of the public choice research program. Most widely known in the academy as coauthor of The Calculus of Consent (Buchanan and Tullock 1962), Professor Tullock was not named, unfairly in our joint opinion, as co-recipient of James Buchanan’s 1986 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. A good case nevertheless can be made that Gordon earned Nobel laurels on his own account for groundbreaking contributions to the literatures on, among other topics of scholarly study, rent seeking, autocracy, bureaucracy, war and revolution, law and economics and bio-economics. This essay celebrates Gordon Tullock’s major influences on the field of public choice, including his launching of Public Choice, the journal for which both of us have served as editors, and his impacts on scholars working at the many and obviously fruitful intersections of economics and political science.


Gordon Tullock Major contributions Editorship of public choice Rents and rent seeking Contests Contest success functions Conflicts Bureaucracy Autocracy Law and legal procedure Non-human societies 

JEL Classification

D6 D72 D73 D74 D78 H1 K10 



Presented at a conference on “The Scholarship and Impact of Gordon Tullock”, George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia, 2–3 October 2015. We benefitted from comments on an earlier draft by Roger Congleton (conference organizer), Charles Goetz and Dwight Lee, as well as those of conference participants, especially Arye Hillman, Nic Tideman and Stefan Voigt, all of whom might serve as convenient scapegoats, but nevertheless are excused of responsibility for any errors remaining herein.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Finance, Jon M. Huntsman School of BusinessUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.John E. Walker Department of EconomicsClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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