Thomas Ferguson is the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s Director of Research Projects and a member of its Advisory Board. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and Senior Fellow at Better Markets. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and taught formerly at MIT and the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Golden Rule (University of Chicago Press, 1995) and Right Turn (Hill & Wang, 1986). His articles have appeared in many scholarly journals, including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of Economic History. He is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Political Economy and a longtime Contributing Editor at The Nation.
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Social scientists have stubbornly held that money and election outcomes are at most weakly linked. New research provides clear evidence to the contrary.
The Straight Truth
Targeted Measures and Subsidies for Cost Effective COVID-19 Abatement
New INET research shows once again that it’s large firms and the 1%—not the “median voter”—who drive U.S. policy
Featuring this expert
Oversights of two generations of social scientists have weakened democracy.
“One place to look always is where’s the money? Who funds congress? Actually, there’s a very fine careful study of this by the leading scholar who deals with funding issues in politics, Thomas Ferguson. He and his colleagues did a study about a year ago a careful study in which they investigated a simple question, “what’s the correlation over the years many years between campaign funding and electability to congress?” It’s almost a straight line, it’s the kind of close correlation that you barely get in the social sciences. The greater the funding, the higher the electability. You can find a few cases here and there that aren’t right on the line, but from the standpoint of social science it’s a remarkable correlation.” — Noam Chomsky, Jacobin
INET research showing countries that prioritized health policies fared better economically is cross posted in Le Monde
Three American researchers, crossing the figures for growth and mortality due to the Covid-19 pandemic from many countries, conclude that containment is effective, provided it is accompanied by strong public subsidies.
“Political scientist Thomas Ferguson, an authoritative scholar on money and electoral politics, has a valuable and established political science theory called “the investment theory of politics.” He demonstrates that the U.S. is essentially controlled by coalitions of investors who come together around some mutual interest. Thus, “to participate in the political arena, you must have enough resources and private power to become part of such a coalition…. McGuire and Delahunt advance the thesis by showing it is actually worse than what others have found. Their study reveals and confirms that the top wealthiest 10 percent ultimately always win on policy — effectively showing that anyone else’s opinion outside of the top 10 percent rarely matters.” — Rajko Kolundzic, Truthout