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 Economic and Social Roots of Populist Rebellion: Support for Donald Trump in 2016

Paper Working Paper Series | | Oct 2018

This paper critically analyzes voting patterns in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

INET Memo to G20: The Trouble with Economic Research Evaluation

Article | May 28, 2018

In a memo for the G20, INET calls for changes to the evaluation of economic research to ensure that economic theory—and policy—is more rigorous, innovative, and in service to society. 

Is There Another Bear in the Woods? How Not to Celebrate a 10th Anniversary

Article | Mar 14, 2018

As the U.S. Congress works to undo financial regulation, INET reflects on the lessons of the Bear Stearns bailout

Britney and the Bear: Who Says You Can’t Get Good Help Anymore?

Article | Mar 14, 2018

From the Archives: In the wake of the Bear Stearns bailout in 2008, INET Research Director Tom Ferguson and President Rob Johnson say taxpayers rescuing banks are owed their due: “If the public is going to pay for [bailouts]… it should also get paid back for them.”

Featuring this expert

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

Thomas Ferguson's INET article affluent authoritarianism is discussed in Counterpunch

News Nov 6, 2020

“Conveniently for present purposes, Naked Capitalism posted a piece by political scientist Thomas Ferguson on the determinants of political decision making— that is, on the ‘product’ that elected representatives produce. The punchline: ‘money,’ as defined by the interests of corporate executives and oligarchs, is the overwhelming determinant of ‘political’ outcomes. Advancing the public will— the liberal explanation; or the public interest, the explanation offered for representative democracy, have no bearing. The longstanding practice of fitting political outcomes into these theoretical frames to ‘explain’ public policies is scientific malpractice given Mr. Ferguson’s findings.” —- Rob Urie