Thomas Ferguson is the Research Director at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. 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.
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Oversights of two generations of social scientists have weakened democracy.
“The most recent study, using sophisticated AI techniques, dispels “notions that anyone’s opinion about public policy outside of the top 10 percent of affluent Americans independently helps to explain policy.” Thomas Ferguson, the leading academic scholar of the power of the “tools and tyrants” of government, concludes: “Knowing the policy area, the preferences of the top 10 percent, and the views of a handful of interest groups suffice to explain policy changes with impressive accuracy.” — Jared Rodriguez, Truthout
“Well, 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 and politics, Thomas Ferguson. He and his colleagues did a study in which they investigated a simple question: “What’s the correlation over many years between campaign funding and electability to Congress?” The correlation is almost a straight line. That’s the kind of close correlation that you rarely get in the social sciences: greater the funding, higher the electability.” — Noam Chomsky in an interview with Jacobin
“Political scientist Thomas Ferguson has documented how U.S. big business interests poured money into local and state elections to ensure positive support for their largely unpopular policies. What Ferguson calls “political investment” is the practice of spending serious sums on party competition to keep hand-picked, docile representatives in power.” — Duncan Cameron, Rabble