Public Choice

, Volume 103, Issue 1, pp 95-116

First online:

The Influence of Knut Wicksell on Richard Musgrave and James Buchanan

  • Bernd HansjürgensAffiliated withPhilipps-University Marburg

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The schools of thought that Richard Musgrave and James Buchanan represent in the field of public finance differ a great deal. Musgrave represents the insider-Harvard vision of socio-political reality while Buchanan represents the outsider-Chicago-Virginia-public choice vision. The foundation of different schools of thought by Musgrave and Buchanan is surprising insofar as both Musgraveand Buchanan call Knut Wicksell their intellectual father and claim their own work to stand in the Wicksellian tradition. In this paper, the influence of Wicksell on the works of Musgrave and Buchanan is traced out. The paper comes to the conclusion that it is Buchanan on whose work Wicksell had the strongerinfluence.