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.

By this expert

Affluent Authoritarianism: McGuire and Delahunt’s New Evidence on Public Opinion and Policy

Article | Nov 2, 2020

New INET research shows once again that it’s large firms and the 1%—not the “median voter”—who drive U.S. policy

Are American Colleges and Universities the Next Covid Casualties?

Article | Jul 22, 2020

Colleges and universities need to be saved, not only from financial ruin, but also, all too often, from themselves.

Three Comments on Storm “The Economics and Politics of Social Democracy: A Reconsideration"

Paper Working Paper Series | | May 2020

This Working Paper presents three separate comments on Servaas Storm’s “The Economics and Politics of Social Democracy: A Reconsideration”. The first is by Joseph Halevi and Peter Kriesler; the second is by Duncan Foley; and the third is by Thomas Ferguson.

Fatal Combination: Bailouts and Bank Rescues in Money-Driven Political Systems

Article | Apr 13, 2020

Financial industry donations to members of Congress lead to the adoption of pro-bank policies

Featuring this expert

INET research into the influence of election spending is featured in Truthout

News Dec 15, 2020

“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

Thomas Fricke has an article in Der Spiegel citing an INET study showing that prioritizing health in the pandemic has led to better economic outcomes

News Dec 7, 2020

“Calculations by Phillip Alvelda, Thomas Ferguson and John Mallery, which have just been published by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, suggest how scary the choice between life and business is in the corona crisis . A comparison of all possible countries and strategies over the past year then gave a fairly clear picture: Those who consistently aimed to stop the epidemic through hard lockdowns have significantly fewer deaths - even if they initially suffered greater economic damage; while it is with countries like the UK it was exactly the opposite, which initially hesitated with the lockdown and raised all the more money to avoid economic damage. With the fatal result that precisely because of this, the second wave became all the more violent - and economic output collapsed in the end. Conclusion of the study: The more negligent governments allow the pandemic to work in order not to harm the economy, the more the economic costs will pile up over time and ever new waves. Almost no matter how hard these rulers and central bankers try to counter it with economic stimulus programs. The damn virus finds activity between people (also economic) pretty good.” — Thomas Fricke

Thomas Ferguson is quoted in Alternet on Georgia's senate election

News Dec 7, 2020

“Ferguson, whose research has shown that candidates who raise more money stand a much greater chance of winning election, added that “when you get that much money pouring into the election, it means that you have all these investors who decide which election is ‘worth it’ and that tends to pull even liberal democrats to the right. It is a somewhat subtle effect but a very real one and clearly an anti-democratic consequence of the system.” — Andrew Kennis

INET study is cited in the Socialist Worker

News Dec 7, 2020

“Rich economies have more resources to spare to prioritise saving lives. And Wolf reproduces the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s now famous chart that refutes the idea there is a “trade-off” between saving the economy and saving lives. On the whole, those states that prioritised saving lives also lost less economic output. China is the standout case. But it isn’t just about how rich an economy is. The same chart shows that the states that suffered the biggest losses of lives and output include Italy, Britain, Spain, and France. The US and Belgium aren’t far behind.” —Alex Callinicos