Thomas Sowell

Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy
Awards and Honors:
American Philosophical Society
National Academy of Education
Biography: 

Thomas Sowell is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.

He writes on economics, history, social policy, ethnicity, and the history of ideas. His most recent books on economics include Housing Boom and Bust (2009), Intellectuals and Society (2009), Applied Economics (2009), Economic Facts and Fallacies (2008), Basic Economics (2007), and Affirmative Action Around the World (2004). Other books on economics he has written include Classical Economics Reconsidered (1974), Say’s Law (1972), and Economics: Analysis and Issues (1971). On social policy he has written Knowledge and Decisions (1980), Preferential Policies (1989), Inside American Education (1993) and The Vision of the Anointed (1995). On the history of ideas he has written Marxism (1985) and Conflict of Vision (1987). His most recent books are Barbarians Inside the Gates (1999) and The Quest for Cosmic Justice (1999). Sowell also wrote Late-Talking Children (1997). He has also written a monograph on law titled Judicial Activism Reconsidered, published by the Hoover Institution Press. His writings have also appeared in scholarly journals in economics, law, and other fields.

Sowell’s current research focuses on cultural history in a world perspective, a subject on which he began to write a trilogy in 1982. The trilogy includes Race and Culture (1994), Migrations and Cultures (1996), and Conquests and Cultures (1998).

Sowell's journalistic writings include a nationally syndicated column that appears in more than 150 newspapers from Boston to Honolulu. Some of these essays have been collected in book form, most recently in Ever Wonder Why? and Other Controversial Essays published by the Hoover Institution Press.

Over the past three decades, Sowell has taught economics at various colleges and universities, including Cornell, Amherst, and the University of California at Los Angeles, as well as the history of ideas at Brandeis University. He has also been associated with three other research centers, in addition to the Hoover Institution. He was project director at the Urban Institute, 1972-1974, a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, 1976–77, and was an adjunct scholar of the American Enterprise Institute, 1975-76.

Sowell was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2002. In 2003, Sowell received the Bradley Prize for intellectual achievement. Sowell received his bachelor’s degree in economics (magna cum laude) from Harvard in 1958, his master’s degree in economics from Columbia University in 1959, and his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968.

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Recent Commentary

Featured Commentary

Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015)

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It is not often that the leader of a small city-state — in this case, Singapore — gets an international reputation.

Featured Commentary

Ruinous 'Compassion'

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It is fascinating to see brilliant people belatedly discover the obvious — and to see an even larger number of brilliant people never discover the obvious.

Featured Commentary

Two Warnings

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, March 17, 2015

When Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress on March 3rd, it was the third time he had done so. The only other person to address a joint session of Congress three times was the legendary British prime minister Winston Churchill.

Featured Commentary

The 'Disparate Impact' Racket

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The U.S. Department of Justice issued two reports last week, both growing out of the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown.

Featured Commentary

Random Thoughts

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Random thoughts on the passing scene.

Featured Commentary

The Honesty Gap

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

There may be some poetic justice in the recent revelation that Hillary Clinton, who has made big noises about a "pay gap" between women and men, paid the women on her Senate staff just 72 percent of what she paid the men. The Obama White House staff likewise has a pay gap between women and men, as of course does the economy as a whole.

Featured Commentary

Giuliani Versus Obama

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The firestorm of denunciation of former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, for having said that he did not think Barack Obama loved America, is in one sense out of all proportion to that remark — especially at a time when there are much bigger issues, including wars raging, terrorist atrocities and a nuclear Iran on the horizon.

Featured Commentary

Glib 'Happy Talk'

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, February 17, 2015

When Alfred E. Neuman said "What me worry?" on the cover of Mad magazine, it was funny. But this message was not nearly as funny coming from President Barack Obama and his National Security Advisor, Susan Rice.

Featured Commentary

Damaging Admissions

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Opponents of charter schools have claimed that these schools are "cherry-picking" the students they admit, and that this explains why many charter schools get better educational results with less money than public schools do.

Featured Commentary

Measles, Vaccines And Autism

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The current controversy over whether parents should be forced to have their children vaccinated for measles is one of the painful signs of our times. Measles was virtually wiped out in the United States, years ago. Why the resurgence of this disease now?

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