James Buchanan, the Nobel-prize winning economist, died yesterday at the age of 93. Buchanan is most famous for pioneering public choice theory, which advocates the application of economic analysis to public policy and political science. You can read obits here and here. A free primer on public choice theory is available here and a very good encyclopedia entry is here. One of the key insights of public choice is that we should be concerned more about the institutional framework of our political systems rather than the personalities of our politicians.