Thomas Ferguson is the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s Director of Research Projects and a member of its Advisory Board. 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

How Money Drives US Congressional Elections

Paper Working Paper Series | | Aug 2016

Social scientists have stubbornly held that money and election outcomes are at most weakly linked. New research provides clear evidence to the contrary.

To Save the Economy, Save People First

Article | Nov 18, 2020

Targeted Measures and Subsidies for Cost Effective COVID-19 Abatement

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.

Featuring this expert

Stark New Evidence on How Money Shapes America’s Elections

Article | Aug 8, 2016

Oversights of two generations of social scientists have weakened democracy.

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