Saturday, April 04, 2009

Remembering Gordon Tullock

I got an email from Pete Boettke asking me for a contribution to a "booklet of fond remembrances" that he is putting together to honor Gordon. Here is my remembrance:

I first met Gordon when, as a new PhD candidate, I went on a job interview at GMU (it helps the story to remember that this was 1984, pre-Google, y’all!). I began my seminar with a discussion of why my topic was interesting/important, and then moved to a literature review. When I finished the review, Gordon raised his hand and asked “Is that it?” I replied that while I had all of my own work yet to talk about, that, yes, that was it for the lit review. To which Gordon said, “Well then we may as well stop the seminar right now because you don’t even know the literature in your own field. You are completely ignoring the most important paper”. Yikes!! About a million thoughts race through my mind and I decide to go humble and see what happens, so I say that I’m very sorry for the omission, and would he please give me the citation to the paper so that I could find it and incorporate it into my work. Gordon’s answer was this: “The paper is in my desk drawer, it was submitted to Public Choice last week”. To which I replied “Man, I am so dumb, of course any good literature review should start in Gordon’s drawers.” I got the job, and Gordon was always a strong (though sarcastic) supporter of me and my work.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but did he pass away? It's unclear from the post and others are not reporting his death

Angus said...

Well they are planning to give the booklet to him when he visits GMU later this month, so I think he's still alive and kickin'.

Sorry, didn't mean at all to imply that he was defunct.

King said...

I'll admit, Angus, you scared me too. Anyway, if anyone else is interested, my story of Tullock.

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