Prof William Ferguson

Visiting Fellow

Gertrude B. Austin Professor of Economics at Grinnell College, USA

William Ferguson


William D. Ferguson is the Gertrude B. Austin Professor of Economics at Grinnell College. His current research focuses on institutional political economy of development, with attention to collective-action problems as an analytical lens, using game-theoretic logic. His recent book, The Political Economy of Collective Action, Inequality, and Development, proposes a framework for development theory that combines a typology of political settlements with analysis of associated developmental collective-action problems. This book offers a sequel to his 2013 book, Collective Action and Exchange: A Game-Theoretic Approach to Contemporary Political Economy, which begins with microfoundations of collective-action problems before proceeding to a game-theoretic approach to power, informal and formal institutions, policymaking, and economic growth. In 2010-11, while visiting the Ostrom Workshop at Indiana University, he discussed his manuscript with the late Elinor Ostrom. Professor Ferguson’s earlier research concerns theory of implicit bargaining power in employment relationships. He teaches classes on political economy, applied game theory, labor economics, and policy analysis. He is past Secretary-Treasurer of the Midwest Economics Association and chair and (key) founder of Grinnell’s Policy Studies Concentration. Professor Ferguson lives in Grinnell, Iowa with his wife, Claudia Beckwith. They have 30-year old twins, Caitlin and Taylor.