Friday, 24 April 2009

Tullock can't be all bad (updated)

Further to my recent Interesting blog bits posting where I pointed out that I like Gordon Tullock on the grounds that he once threatened to have Eric Crampton killed. Eric tells the story here and pays homage to Tullock in general along with providing an explanation for the following picture that I linked to.

One point about which I disagree with Eric is on his Pantheon of the Econ-Gods. He, of course, has Tullock sitting at the top with Becker, Friedman, Buchanan, Coase, Alchian, Demsetz, Hayek as the Elder Gods. My ranking would interchange Tullock and Ronald Coase. For me Coase is the greatest econ god. With Tullock as one of the Elder Gods. But I am a theory of the firm man. Coase received the 1991 The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for
"For his discovery and clarification of the significance of transaction costs and property rights for the traditional structure and functioning of the economy."
Coase is most famous for two papers including his 1937 paper "The Nature of the Firm", the paper which started the whole theory of the firm literature.

Update: In the comments section to Eric's posting at Offsetting Behaviour, Brad Taylor makes the valid point that Douglass North should be added as an Elder God.

1 comment:

Peter G. Klein said...

Tullock is of course a legendary put-down artist, but Coase is not bad either. I loved how he closed his contribution to the 1993 Posner-Williamson-Coase exchange in JITE with "I greatly admire the works of Richard Posner, but not always." It is also alleged that he once whispered to a colleague, after a particularly tense seminar exchange with Posner: "That man will not die in his own bed."

North is more blunt. I once asked him about the Economic Freedom Index (Gwartney was North's PhD student). He said something like: "Jim's a great guy, but he's so damn right wing!"