From Models to Experiments; James Buchanan and Charles Plott

  • Gil HerschEmail author
  • Daniel Houser
Part of the Remaking Economics: Eminent Post-War Economists book series (EPWE)


Buchanan’s work, and in particular The Calculus of Consent, which he wrote with Gordon Tullock, has been foundational in the field of public choice. One of his students, Charles Plott, became a pioneer with multiple seminal contributions in the field of experimental public choice. In this chapter we focus on Buchanan’s work on decision making under majority rule, and any influence it may have had on Plott. While Buchanan and Tullock address environments with single decisions, they focus much more on decision making under repeated votes, a topic they found of great interest. Plott’s seminal 1978 paper with Morris Fiorina, however, focuses on single decisions. It may seem puzzling, then, that Plott has often suggested Buchanan’s influence on his work. We offer a resolution to this puzzle.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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