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James L. Johnston


December 18, 1935 - January 21, 2022

Jim Johnston passed away on January 21, 2022.

Jim Johnston was a founding member of the Board of Directors at The Heartland Institute in 1984. He was also Heartland's senior fellow for energy and regulatory policy. He retired in January 1993 from his position as senior economist at Amoco Corporation, whose Economics Department he joined in 1975.

His primary responsibilities while at Amoco included the economic analysis of public policy issues and the hedging of corporate risk. Prior to his employment at Amoco, Mr. Johnston served as an economist with the RAND Corporation, the Institute for Defense Analyses, and the Secretary's Office of the U.S. Treasury. He served on the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.

Mr. Johnston's research focused on electric utility deregulation in Illinois and other states; pollution trading under the climate change treaty, Clean Air Act, and the RECLAIM system for the South Coast Air District; and a general theory of regulation, published in the Cato Institute's Regulation magazine.

Recent Articles and Publications

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May 31, 2016
By James L. Johnston
The stories about the failure of Enron that appeared in The Wall Street Journal of October 17, 2011 missed out on several interesting points in law and economics.
May 31, 2016
By James L. Johnston
During July 2011, I visited Yellowstone National Park. It was a month of disasters. A fly fisherman from Iowa was swept away in the rapidly moving Yellowstone River north of the park on July 14 and was later found dead.
July 9, 2014
By James L. Johnston
Here is a question for your consideration. Why does a nickel trade for five pennies? The answer involves examining the alternatives.Suppose a person is willing to sell nickels for four pennies. The nickel-seller will soon be out of nickels.
February 3, 2014
By James L. Johnston
The continuing scandal regarding National Security Agency monitoring of U.S. citizens’ and residents’ electronic communications makes one thing perfectly clear: If anyone is going to protect the public from unwanted snooping, the government isn’t it.
June 21, 2012
By James L. Johnston
(Originally published in American Thinker)The high-level exchanges about the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) have come down on two sides.
June 27, 2011
By James L. Johnston
The 28-member International Energy Agency last week agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from the world’s reserves in the next 30 days.
April 5, 2011
By James L. Johnston
I am not a happy camper. I live in Wilmette, Illinois. School District 39 in the village where I live is facing a $5.5 million deficit this year. To offset the deficit, a property tax increase amounting to $6.
January 13, 2011
By James L. Johnston
As the media look for signs the economy is heating up — and whether a recovery will be in place when President Obama runs for re-election — it's a good time to consider the likely effects of the latest initiative from the Federal Reserve,

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