William A. Niskanen, who passed away in 2011, was chairman emeritus and a distinguished senior economist at the Cato Institute. Between 1985 and 2008, Niskanen was the chairman of the Cato Institute, following service as a member and acting chairman of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. Niskanen also served as director of economics at the Ford Motor Company, professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles, assistant director of the federal Office of Management and Budget, a defense analyst at the Rand Corporation, the director of special studies in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the director of the Program Analysis division at the Institute of Defense Analysis. He wrote on many public policy issues including corporate governance, defense, federal budget policy, regulation, Social Security, taxes, and trade. Niskanen’s 1971 book Bureaucracy and Representative Government is considered a classic. His final book was Reflections of a Political Economist: Selected Articles on Government Policies and Political Processes.

More from William A. Niskanen


Problems with Accounting Standards

The New York Times (Online). December 20, 2010.

Slow Down the Political Response to a Perceived Crisis

Cato.org. February 9, 2009.

Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley—Lock, Stock And Barrel

Forbes. December 17, 2008.

Cato Studies

New Evidence on the Old Phillips Curve

Tax and Budget Bulletin No. 5. May 1, 2002.

Proffer of Dr. William A. Niskanen

White Paper. November 15, 2000.

Supply-Side Tax Cuts and the Truth about the Reagan Economic Record

Policy Analysis No. 261. October 22, 1996.


On the Constitution of a Compound Republic

Cato's Letters. No. 14. Spring 2001.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Alternative Political and Economic Futures for Europe

Cato Journal. Fall 2012.

Niskanen on Corporate Reform

Policy Report. September/October 2002.

The Growth of Government

Policy Report. January/February 2012.