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

The 2020 Election in Three Graphs

Article | Jan 10, 2020

The Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object?

INET to G20: Bank Regulation Can't Be Heads Banks Win, Tails Taxpayers Lose

Article | Mar 28, 2019

At a G20 preparatory meeting in Berlin, an INET panel analyzed how governments can prevent banks from exploiting taxpayer-funded bailout guarantees

Big Money—Not Political Tribalism—Drives US Elections

Article | Oct 31, 2018

Conventional wisdom asserts that American politics is becoming more and more tribal. But the chiefs of the tribes share a lot in common: dependence on big money.

Economic Distress Did Drive Trump’s Win

Article | Oct 31, 2018

Contrary to the dominant media narrative, social issues like racism and sexism on their own can’t explain Trump’s success.

Featuring this expert

The FT cites INET working paper showing elites are thwarting democracy

News Nov 23, 2020

“Anyone with a pulse knows that in the US today the system is rigged in favour of the wealthy and powerful. One particularly illuminating paper published this month by the Institute for New Economic Thinking quantifies the problem. Building on a persuasive 2014 data set, it shows that when opinion shifts among the wealthiest top 10 per cent of the US population, changes in policy become far more likely. Using AI and machine learning, INET academics Shawn McGuire and Charles Delahunt delved deep into the data. They found that considering the opinions of anyone outside that top 10 per cent was a far less accurate predictor of what happened to government policy. The numbers showed that: “not only do ordinary citizens not have uniquely substantial power over policy decisions; they have little or no independent influence on policy at all”.” — Rana Foroohar, The Financial Times

Truthout cites INET research showing that to save the economy controlling the pandemic comes first

News Nov 23, 2020

“A new international analysis by the Institute for New Economic Thinking found countries such as South Korea and New Zealand that focused on lockdowns early on in the pandemic, rather than preserving their economies, have gained control over the virus and are now seeing their economies grow, in contrast with the dire economic circumstances currently in the U.S.” — Mike Lugwig, Truthout

Thomas Ferguson's article affluent authoritarianism is referenced in The Financial Times

News Nov 11, 2020

“The role of money in US politics is fundamental. A recent updating of earlier research, released by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, confirms that the views of the top decile of the population largely determine policy. The inevitable frustrations of the rest give the parties their passionate voting blocs.” — Martin Wolf

INET working paper along with Thomas Ferguson's article are the focus of this Inequality article.

News Nov 9, 2020

“Their new working paper, just published by the Institute for New Economic Thinking in New York, gives a rigorously technical analysis of what these tools reveal, and the Institute’s research director, Thomas Ferguson, has helpfully fashioned an introduction to — and a historical context for — the McGuire-Delahunt analysis that lay readers will find easily accessible. Ferguson, himself a pioneer in social science research on political decision making, points out that “the idea that public opinion powers at least the broad direction of public policy in formally democratic countries like the United States has been an article of faith in both political science and public economics for generations.” —Sam Pizzigati