Thomas Ferguson (academic)

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Thomas Ferguson
Born 1949
Fields Political science
Institutions University of Massachusetts Boston, MIT, University of Texas, Austin
Alma mater Princeton University (Ph.D.)
Known for Investment theory of party competition
Influences Adam Ferguson[1]

Thomas Ferguson (born 1949) is an American political scientist and author who studies and writes on politics and economics, often within a historical perspective. He is a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a member of the advisory board for the Institute for New Economic Thinking. He obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton University. A contributing editor for The Nation and a contributing writer to The Huffington Post, he is a frequent guest and economic commentator on numerous radio and television programs. He is known for his investment theory of party competition.

MIT controversy[edit]

According to Noam Chomsky, Thomas Ferguson was warned while at MIT that his research might get him denied tenure at the Political Science Department. In Chomsky's account, Ferguson was told “If you ever want to get tenure in this department, keep away from anything after the New Deal; you can write all of your radical stuff up to the New Deal, but if you try and do it for the post-New Deal period, you're never going to get tenure in this department." Although not explicitly mentioned, the research was ostensibly the investment theory of party competition.[2]

Selected works[edit]

Ferguson has written numerous scholarly articles, magazine pieces, and a number of books.


  • "Betting on Hitler - The Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany," Quarterly Journal of Economics, Feb. 2008
  • "The American Wage Structure, 1920-1947," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 2004
  • "Mixed-Asset Portfolio Composition with Long-Term Holding Periods and Uncertainty," Levy Economics Institute Working Paper No. 249, Sep. 1998
  • "Money and Politics" in Handbooks to the Modern World - The United States, volume 2, ed. Godfrey Hodgson, 1992
  • "Industrial Structure and Party Competition in the New Deal", Sociological Perspectives 34:493-526, 1991
  • "By Invitation Only: Party Competition and Industrial Structure in the 1988 Election", Socialist Review 19:73-103, 1989
  • "Elites and Elections, or: What Have They Done to You Lately? Toward an Investment Theory of Political Parties and Critical Realignment" in "Do Elections Matter?" eds. Benjamin Ginsberg and Alan Stone, 1986
  • "From Normalcy to New Deal: Industrial structure, Party Competition, and American Public Policy in the Great Depression," International Organization, Volume 38, Issue 01, Winter 1984
  • "Party Realignment and American Industrial Structure: The Investment Theory of Political Parties in Historical Perspective", Research in Political Economy, Volume 6, JAI Press, 1983
  • “The Political Economy of Knowledge and the Changing Politics of the Philosophy of Science”. Telos 15 (Spring 1973). New York: Telos Press.

Popular press[edit]


  • Ferguson, Thomas (1995). Golden rule : the investment theory of party competition and the logic of money-driven political systems. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226243176. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas; Rogers, Joel (1988). Right turn: The Decline of the Democrats and the future of American Politics (3. print. ed.). New York: Hill and Wang. ISBN 0809001705. 
  • Ferguson, edited by Thomas; Rogers, Joel (1984). The Political economy : readings in the politics and economics of American public policy (3. print. ed.). Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc. ISBN 0873322762. 


  1. ^ Review of Golden Rule in the The Independent Review
  2. ^ Chomsky, Noam. "Understanding Power." Ed. Mitchell, Peter R. and John Schoeffel. New York: The New Press, 2002.

External links[edit]