Volume 8 in "The Selected Works of Gordon Tullock" draws from two highly acclaimed and path-breaking books by Gordon Tullock, "The Social Dilemma" (1974) and "Autocracy" (1987). In this work, Tullock explores political market behaviour that is based on conflict rather than on bargaining and thus behaviour that results in wealth reduction rather than in gains from trade. "The Social Dilemma: The Economics of War and Revolution" was written in response to the tumultuous events of the 1960s and 1970s. Specifically, after the constitutional crisis caused by the Watergate scandal, Tullock acknowledged the Hobbesian nature of democracy. He posed that political figures are locked in wealth-reducing circumstances by the nature of the political game and inherent problems found in democracy. In "Autocracy", Tullock provides a scientific analysis of dictatorships, using a rational choice model to analyse the behaviour of individuals under autocracy. Whereas most scholars have applied public choice theory only to co-operative, democratic states, Tullock extends the theory into new territory. In addition, his insights contribute to the discussion of pressing current issues, such as the transformation of autocracies into democracies.
“Most governments in the world are dictatorships of one sort or another. In spite of this fact there has been almost no scientific analysis of this form of government since Machiavelli…
…I have chosen to call it “autocracy” instead of “dictatorship” because I also want to discuss kingdoms and empires.”
Gordon Tullock (1922) is University Professor of Law and Economics and Distinguished Research Fellow in the James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy at George Mason University. He holds a joint teaching position in the Department of Economics and the School of Law. Professor Tullock received a J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1947. Tullock is one of the fathers of public choice theory.