Public Choice

, Volume 175, Issue 3–4, pp 277–302 | Cite as

Profiling giants: the networks and influence of Buchanan and Tullock

  • Etienne FarvaqueEmail author
  • Frédéric Gannon


This paper uses network analysis to measure the position and influence of two prominent academics, James M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, founders of Public Choice theory. First, an account of their parallel lives is given. Second, a review of the literature and of the standard centrality measures is provided, insisting on their relevance to assess an author’s importance in a given network. Third, detailing the publication records and, overall, co-authorship networks of the two scholars, their respective influence is analyzed through the lens of network analysis. Their academic genealogy is also explored. It is shown in particular that: (1) Buchanan and Tullock’s careers followed parallel paths and co-founded Public Choice theory and the journal of the same name, although the two had few common works; (2) though being apparently very similar as to their centrality in the co-authoring network under scrutiny, their ego-networks are structured very differently, revealing diverse positions in the field and, thus, different influence on the discipline.


Buchanan Tullock Networks Co-authorship Dissertation students Influence Public Choice 

JEL Classification

A14 D85 I23 



Without implication, we thank the editors and the reviewers of the journal for stimulating suggestions, as well as Stefan Balev, Bruno Beaufils, Hamza Bennani, Peter Boettke, Hakim Hammadou, Daniel Houser, Fabio Padovano and Yann Secq for useful discussions and remarks, as well as participants in the workshop on “Interdisciplinary approaches on co-authorship and scientific networks” (Le Havre, May 2016). Steven Medema deserves special thanks for his precious help in effectively getting Robert Tollison’s 1991 paper (containing the list of Virginia’s Political Economy Graduate students).

Supplementary material

11127_2018_535_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (137 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 136 kb)
11127_2018_535_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (3.7 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 3740 kb)
11127_2018_535_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (174 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 173 kb)


  1. Abbasi, A., Altmann, J., & Hossain, L. (2011). Identifying the effects of co-authorship networks on the performance of scholars: A correlation and regression analysis of performance measures and social network analysis measures. Journal of Informetrics, 5(4), 594–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Atkinson, A. (1987). James M. Buchanan’s contributions to economics. The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 89(1), 5–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Azoulay, P., Zivin, J. G., & Wang, J. (2010). Superstar extinction. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 125(2), 549–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Besancenot, D., Huynh, K., & Serranito, F. (2017). Co-authorship and individual research productivity in economics: Assessing the assortative matching hypothesis. Economic Modelling, 66(C), 61–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bidault, F., & Hildebrand, Th. (2014). The distribution of partnership returns: Evidence from co-authorships in economics journals. Research Policy, 43, 1002–1013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boettke, P. J. (2008). Maximizing behavior & market forces: The microfoundations of spontaneous order theorizing in Gordon Tullock’s contributions to Smithian political economy. Public Choice, 135(1–2), 3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boettke P. J. (2014). The smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls. Coordination Problem, blog post,
  8. Boettke, P. J., Fink, A., & Smith, D. J. (2012). The impact of Nobel Prize winners in economics: Mainline vs. mainstream. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 71, 1219–1249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boettke, P. J., & Marciano, A. (2015). The past, present and future of Virginia political economy. Public Choice, 163(1–2), 53–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buchanan, J. M. (1964). What should economists do? Southern Economic Journal, 30(3), 213–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Buchanan, J.M. (2001). Notes on nobelity. Accessed September 29, 2016.
  12. Buchanan, J. M., Tollison, R. D., & Tullock, G. (Eds.). (1980). Toward a theory of the rent-seeking society (Vol. 4). College Station: Texas A&M University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Buchanan, J. M., & Tullock, G. (1962). The calculus of consent: Logical foundations of constitutional democracy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Buchanan, J. M., & Tullock, G. (1964). Economic analogues to the generalization argument. Ethics, 74, 300–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Buchanan, J. M., & Tullock, G. (1965). Public and private interaction under reciprocal externalities. In J. Margolis (Ed.), The public economy of urban communities (pp. 52–73). Washington D.C.: Resources for the future.Google Scholar
  16. Buchanan, J. M., & Tullock, G. (1975). Polluters’ profits and political response: Direct controls versus taxes. American Economic Review, 65, 139–147.Google Scholar
  17. Buchanan, J. M., & Tullock, G. (1976a). Reply. American Economic Review, 66, 983–984.Google Scholar
  18. Buchanan, J. M., & Tullock, G. (1976b). The politics of bureaucracy and planning. In A. L. Chickering (Ed.), The politics of planning: A review and critique of centralized economic planning (pp. 225–273). San Francisco: Institute for contemporary studies.Google Scholar
  19. Buchanan, J. M., & Tullock, G. (1977). The expanding public sector: Wagner squared. Public Choice, 31, 147–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Buchanan, J. M., & Tullock, G. (1981). An American perspective. In A. Seldon (Ed.), The emerging consensus, IEA 1957–1981 (pp. 79–97). London: The institute of economic affairs.Google Scholar
  21. De Stefano, D., Giordano, G., & Vitale, M. P. (2011). Issues in the analysis of co-authorship networks. Quality & Quantity, 45(5), 1091–1107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dolton, P. (2017). Identifying social network effects. Economic Record, 93, 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ductor, L., Fafchamps, M., Goyal, S., & van der Leij, M. J. (2014). Social networks and research output. The Review of Economic and Statistics, 96(5), 936–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ebadi, A., & Schiffauerova, A. (2015). How to become an important player in scientific collaboration networks. Journal of Informetrics, 9, 809–825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ellison, G. (2013). How does the market use citation data? The Hirsch index in economics. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 5(3), 63–90.Google Scholar
  26. Fourcade, M., Ollion, E., & Algan, Y. (2015). The superiority of economists. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 29(1), 89–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Freeman, L. (1979). Centrality in social networks: Conceptual clarification. Social Networks, 1, 215–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gaumont, N., Magnien, C., & Latapy, M. (2016). Finding remarkably dense sequences of contacts in link streams. Social Networks Analysis and Mining, 6, 87–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Goyal, S., van der Leij, M. J., & Moraga-González, J. L. (2006). Economics: An emerging small world. Journal of Political Economy, 114(2), 403–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hanneman, R. A., & Riddle, M. (2011). Concepts and measures for basic network analysis. In J. Scott & P. J. Carrington (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of social network analysis (pp. 340–369). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.Google Scholar
  31. Hill, P. J. (1999). Public choice: A review. Faith & Economics, 34(Fall), 1–10.Google Scholar
  32. Hollis, A. (2001). Co-authorship and the output of academic economists. Labour Economics, 8(4), 503–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Laband, D. N., & Tollison, R. D. (2000). Intellectual collaboration. Journal of Political Economy, 108(3), 632–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Latapy M., Viard T., Magnien C. (2017). Stream graphs and link streams for the modeling of interactions over time. arXiv:1710.04073.
  35. Levy D. M., Peart S. J. (2014). Almost wholly negative: The Ford foundation’s appraisal of the Virginia school, Working Paper.Google Scholar
  36. Leydesdorff, L. (2007). Betweenness centrality as an indicator of the interdisciplinarity of scientific journals. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(9), 1303–1319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Luce, R. D., & Perry, A. D. (1949). A method of matrix analysis of group structure. Psychometrika, 14(1), 95–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McKenzie, R. B., & Galar, R. (2004). The production and diffusion of Public Choice political economy: Reflections on the VPI Center. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 63(1), 19–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McKenzie, R. B., & Tullock, G. (1975). The new world of economics: Explorations into the human experience. Homewood, Ill: Richard D. Irwin.Google Scholar
  40. Medema, S. G. (2000). Related disciplines: The professionalization of Public Choice analysis. The History of Applied Economics: History of Political Economy Annual Supplement, 32, 289–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Medema, S. G. (2011). Public Choice and the notion of creative communities. History of Political Economy, 43(Spring), 225–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mutschke, P. (2003). Mining networks and central entities in digital libraries. A graph theoretic approach applied to co-author networks. Advances in Intelligent Data Analysis, 2810, 155–166.Google Scholar
  43. Newman, M. E. J. (2001). The structure of scientific collaboration networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 98(2), 404–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Newman, M. E. J. (2010). Networks: An introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ostrom, V. (1993). Epistemic choice and Public Choice. Public Choice, 77(1), 163–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Parisi, F., Luppi, B., & Guerra, A. (2017). Gordon Tullock and the Virginia School of Law and Economics. Constitutional Political Economy, 28(1), 48–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Qi, X., Duval, R. D., Christensen, K., Fuller, E., Spahiu, A., Wu, Q., et al. (2013). Terrorist networks, network energy and node removal: A new measure of centrality based on Laplacian energy. Social Networking, 2, 19–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Qi, X., Fuller, E., Wu, Q., Wu, Y., & Zhang, C. (2012). Laplacian centrality: A new centrality measure for weighted networks. Information Sciences, 194(1), 240–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Schoch, D., Valente, T. W., & Brandes, U. (2017). Correlations among centrality indices and a class of uniquely ranked graphs. Social Networks, 50, 46–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Schram, A. (2016). Gordon Tullock and experimental public choice. Constitutional Political Economy, 27(2), 214–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tollison, R. D. (1991). Graduate students in Virginia Political Economy: 1957–1991, Center for Study of Public Choice, Occasional Paper on Virginia Political Economy. Fairfax, VA: George Mason University.Google Scholar
  52. Valente, T. W., Coronges, K., Lakon, C., & Costenbader, E. (2008). How correlated are network centrality measures? Connections, 28(1), 16–26.Google Scholar
  53. Vaughn, K. I. (2015). How James Buchanan came to George Mason University. Journal of Private Enterprise, 30(2), 103–109.Google Scholar
  54. Wagner, R. (2004). Public Choice as an academic enterprise: Charlottesville, Blacksburg, and Fairfax retrospectively viewed. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 63(1), 55–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social network analysis: Methods and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Yin, L., Kretschmer, H., Hanneman, R. A., & Liu, Z. (2006). Connection and stratification in research collaboration: An analysis of the COLLNET network. Information Processing and Management, 42, 1599–1613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Zimmermann, Ch. (2013). Academic rankings with RePEc. Econometrics, 1(3), 249–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LEM - CNRS (UMR 9221)Université Lille 1 Sciences et TechnologiesVilleneuve d’Ascq CedexFrance
  2. 2.CIRANOMontréalCanada
  3. 3.EDEHN (EA 7263)Université du HavreLe HavreFrance

Personalised recommendations