Anthony Downs

American economist

Anthony Downs (/daʊnz/; born November 21, 1930) is an American economist specializing in public policy and public administration.


  • American communities require that new housing meet quality requirements that are very high by world or even Western European and Japanese standards. These requirements are designed by middle-class architects, planners, and citizens in conformity with what they believe is decent housing. But their concept of decency far surpasses what is necessary for human health and safety. Consequently, all new American dwellings are too costly for low-income people to occupy without direct subsidies. But subsidies are provided for only a few of the many households with incomes low enough to be eligible for them. So poor people live in unsubsidized older dwellings.
    • In: Jay M. Stein (1996). Classic Readings in Real Estate and Development. p. 447

Quotes about Downs

  • I have heard a few leading scholars in public choice express the view that the first Nobel Prize for contributions to public choice should have gone to Anthony Downs. I think it is fair to say that his An Economic Theory of Democracy (1957) has had a bigger impact than The Calculus, particularly among political scientists. But I do not think that a Nobel Prize should be awarded for a doctoral dissertation, however brilliant the effort. Downs has made only a few contributions to the public choice literature following the 1957 book, and none of these has had much of an impact.
    • Dennis C. Mueller, "James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, and The Calculus", Public Choice (2012)
Wikipedia has an article about: