2016-2018 Officers

Georg S. Vanberg

President, 2016-18
Professor and Chair
Duke University
Political Science
Durham, NC 27708
Contact the President

Edward J. Lopez

Executive Director and Past President (2012-14)
Professor of Economics and BB&T Distinguished Professor of Capitalism
Western Carolina University
College of Business
Cullowhee, NC 28723


Jennifer Kodl

Executive Assistant
Beloit College
Department of Economics & Management
Beloit , WI 53511
Contact Jennifer

Roberta Herzberg

Immediate Past President (2014-16)
George Mason University
F. A. Hayek Program in PPE at Mercatus Center
Fairfax, VA 22030
Contact Roberta

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee consists of Past Presidents in addition to a rotating Board of Directors.

Past Presidents
Name Primary
Year(s) as President
James M. Buchanan* Economics 1964
Gordon Tullock* Law, Economics 1965
William H. Riker* Political Science 1966
Vincent A. Ostrom* Public Administration / Political Science 1967-69
Otto A. Davis* Economics 1970-72
Mancur Olson* Economics 1972-74
James S. Coleman* Sociology 1974-76
Charles R. Plott Economics 1976-78
Gerald H. Kramer Political Science 1978-80
John O. Ledyard Economics 1980-82
Elinor Ostrom* Political Science 1982-84
Dennis C. Mueller Economics 1984-86
Peter Ordeshook Political Science 1986-88
Vernon L. Smith Economics 1988-90
John A. Ferejohn Political Science 1990-92
Melvin J. Hinich* Political Science 1992-94
Robert D. Tollison* Economics 1994-96
Michael C. Munger Political Science 1996-98
William A. Niskanen* Economics 1998-2000
Bernard N. Grofman Political Science 2000-02
Geoffrey Brennan Economics 2002-04
Steven J. Brams Political Science 2004-06
Randall G. Holcombe Economics 2006-08
Nicholas R. Miller Political Science 2008-10
Lawrence W. Kenny Economics 2010-12
Edward J. Lopez Economics 2012-14
Roberta Q. Herzberg Political Science 2014-16
* Deceased
Directors (Term of Service)

1. Lynne Kiesling (2016-2020)
Associate Director
Purdue University Research Center in Economics

2. Peter T. Calcagno (2012-2015; 2015-Present)
Professor of Economics
College of Charleston

3. Diana W. Thomas (2017-2019)
Associate Professor of Economics
Creighton University

4. W. Mark Crain (2016-2020)
Simon Chair of Political Economy
Lafayette College

5. Roger Congelton (2016-2020)
BB&T Professor of Economics
West Virginia University

6. Keith Dougherty (2013-2015; 2015-Present)
Professor of Political Science
University of Georgia

7. David Skarbek (2017-2020)
Associate Professor of Political Science
Brown University

8. Vacant ()

Past Directors (Years of Prior Service)

Mario Villarreal-Diaz (2015-2017)
Associate Professor
University of Arizona

Joshua C. Hall (2012-2016)
Associate Professor of Economics
West Virginia University

Georg Vanberg (2012-2016)
Professor of Political Science
Duke University

Daniel Sutter (2012-2014)
Professor of Economics
Troy University

Statement of Purpose

The goal of The Public Choice Society is to facilitate the exchange of research and ideas across academic disciplines in the social sciences, particularly economics, political science, law, philosophy and related fields, on questions related to all aspects of collective action, primarily through the organization of an annual conference, and the maintenance of a scholarly network. It started in 1963 as the Committee on Non-Market Decision Making, when scholars from multiple disciplines became interested in the application of essentially economic methods to problems normally dealt with by political theorists. An annual conference and new journal were launched. In 1967 the group renamed itself The Public Choice Society. As the public choice research program has advanced in new and fruitful directions, the Society remains as a valued interdisciplinary and international forum for scholarly inquiry and exchange of ideas on the range of topics included in non-market decision making that transcend the boundaries of any self-contained discipline. For more about the origins of the Society, see the essay by James M. Buchanan below.

How to Join

Click the Sign In link at the top right of this page. There you can easily set up your personal login credentials for this site, or simply login if you already have an account.

There is no formal membership aside from attending the annual conference and corresponding with each other throughout the year.

To reserve your space at the annual conference, click the Register tab above beginning October 1 of each year.

History of the Public Choice Society

Public Choice: The Origins and Development of a Research Program
by James M. Buchanan

[Editorial note: This essay was published in 2003 by the Center for Study of Public Choice. In the opening line of the essay, Professor Buchanan defines "public choice as a research program rather than as a discipline or even a subdiscipline." The brief excerpt below is from the section of the essay in which Professor Buchanan has just described the origins and background of The Calculus of Consent, and he next recounts the role that he, Gordon Tullock, and others played in founding the Public Choice Society and related organizations. The entire essay is provided at the link below.]

Our book was well-received by both economists and political scientists. And, through the decades since its publication, the book has achieved status as a seminal work in the research program. The initial interest in the book, and its arguments, prompted Tullock and me, who were then at the University of Virginia, to initiate and organize a small research conference in Charlottesville in April 1963. We brought together economists, political scientists, sociologists, and scholars from other disciplines, all of whom were engaged in research outside the boundaries of their disciplines. The discussion was sufficiently stimulating to motivate the formation of a continuing organization, which we first called the Committee on Non-Market Decision-Making, and to initiate plans for a journal initially called Papers on Non-Market Decision-Making, which Tullock agreed to edit.

We were all unhappy with these awkward labels, but after several annual meetings there emerged the new name “public choice," for both the organization and the journal. In this way the Public Choice Society and the journal Public Choice came into being. Both have proved to be quite successful as institutional embodiments of the research program, and sister organizations and journals have since been set up in Europe and Asia.

William Riker, who organized some of the early meetings, exerted a major influence on American political science through the establishment and operation of the graduate research program at the University of Rochester. Second- and even third-generation Riker students occupy major positions throughout the country and carry forward the research thrust in positive political analysis.

In the late 1960s, Tullock and I shifted to Virginia Polytechnic and State University, and in Blacksburg we set up the Center for Study of Public Choice, which served as an institutional home, of sorts, for visiting research scholars throughout the world. This center, and its related programs, operated effectively until 1983, when it was shifted to George Mason University, where its operation continues.

I shall not discuss in detail the institutional history of the society, the journal, the center, and related organizations. Suffice it to say here that these varying structures reflect the development and maturing of the whole research program.