Although trained as a lawyer, Professor Emeritus of Law, Gordon Tullock never held a law school appointment before coming to George Mason University's School of Law. In addition, while he is an intellectual giant in the fields of economics and public choice, he does not have a degree in economics.
Professor Tullock attended law school at the University of Chicago. He joined the Foreign Service shortly after graduation and was posted to Tientsin, China. While posted to an American college to study Chinese, he read Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises's Human Action in his spare time and reports he later found himself better trained than his contemporaries who had Ph.D.'s in economics.
Professor Tullock began postdoctoral work at the University of Virginia in 1958 and taught at that school's Thomas Jefferson Center for Political Economy from 1962 to 1967. The Calculus of Consent (1962), cowritten with George Mason University's James Buchanan, is a founding text of the public choice movement.
With Buchanan, Professor Tullock moved to Virginia Polytechnic Institute from 1968 to 1983 and to George Mason from 1983 to 1987. In 1987, he left George Mason for the University of Arizona.
Professor Tullock is best known for inventing the concept of rent-seeking: the use of political or institutional power to extract wealth transfers from the rest of the economy. He is the author of 16 books and more than 150 papers. He received an honorary degree from the University of Chicago and served as president of the Southern and Western Economic Associations. In January 1998 he was a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economics Association.