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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INET Research in a Stressful Year

Article | Feb 23, 2018

In the face of  laissez-faire capitalism at home and resurgent nationalism across the globe, INET offers an innovative look at the causes of—and solutions for—the problems that ail a fissuring world economy.

How Money Won Trump the White House

Article | Jan 9, 2018

It wasn’t Comey or the Russians. Trump prevailed because his campaign carefully targeted key states with late infusions of big money from private equity, casinos, and other far right contributors, a remarkable wave of donations from small donors, and substantial infusions from the candidate himself.

Industrial Structure and Party Competition in an Age of Hunger Games: Donald Trump and the 2016 Presidential Election

Paper Working Paper Series | | Jan 2018

The U.S. presidential election of 2016 featured frontal challenges to the political establishments of both parties and perhaps the most shocking election upset in American history.

Betting on Hitler – The Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany

Paper Conference paper | | Oct 2017

This paper examines the value of connections between German industry and the Nazi movement in early 1933. Drawing on previously unused contemporary sources about management and supervisory board composition and stock returns, we find that one out of seven firms, and a large proportion of the biggest companies, had substantive links with the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Firms supporting the Nazi movement experienced unusually high returns, outperforming unconnected ones by 5% to 8% between January and March 1933. These results are not driven by sectoral composition and are robust to alternative estimators and definitions of affiliation. 

Featuring this expert

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

YSI 2020 Plenary: New Economic Questions

Young Scholars Initiative Virtual Plenary

YSI Event Plenary YSI | Nov 6–15, 2020

What are the 100 most pertinent economic questions facing our global societ?

Research Webinar & Book Launch: Macroeconomic Inequality From Reagan to Trump

Event Webinar | Sep 18, 2020

A discussion with Lance Taylor and Özlem Ömer, authors of INET’s new book Macroeconomics Inequality from Reagan to Trump