Gordon Tullock’s contribution to bureaucracy


Gordon Tullock is justly valued for his contributions to understanding the nature of bureaucracy. Specifically, Tullock draws on his own experience in the US state department to develop a rational choice model of the hierarchical relationships between individuals within non-market organizations. The closest prior such model is that outlined by Machiavelli to characterize the predictable behavior of a sovereign and his immediate subordinates. Tullock’s 1957 book provided the foundation for my own 1971 contribution, and for an ensuing research program into the economic analysis of bureaucracy and representative government.

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Correspondence to William A. Niskanen.

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Niskanen, W.A. Gordon Tullock’s contribution to bureaucracy. Public Choice 152, 97–101 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-011-9851-6

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  • Bureaucracy
  • Hierarchical-pyramids
  • Rational-choice approach
  • Information-loss