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

Noam Chomsky discusses INET research into money and politics on Jacobin

News Jan 25, 2021

“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

News Dec 15, 2020

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.

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