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

Football in motion over grass
Analysis and Commentary

Football And Fallacies

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This is a football story with both political and legal implications.

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Backward-Looking 'Progressives'

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

People who call themselves "progressives" claim to be forward-looking, but a remarkable amount of the things they say and do are based on looking backward.

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What Now?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Monday, November 14, 2016

The good news is that we dodged a bullet in this election. The bad news is that we don't know how many other bullets are coming, or from what direction.

The Supreme Court
Analysis and Commentary

What Now?: Part II

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Monday, November 14, 2016

As the post-election shock of some, and the euphoria of others, both begin to wear off, the country and the new administration will have some very serious problems to face, at home and abroad. How those problems are faced — or evaded — will tell us a lot about the next four years, and about the longer-run future as well.

Analysis and Commentary

Painful Choices

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Let's talk sense about the election. Nothing is to be gained by refusing to face the hard facts. What are those facts? First of all, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has the qualifications, the track record or the personal character to be President of the United States.

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Painful Choices: Part II

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 8, 2016

In most Presidential election years, the most important vote is the vote for President of the United States. This year, the most important vote looks like the vote for control of the Senate. 

Analysis and Commentary

Has Economics Failed?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It is especially painful for me, as an economist, to see that two small cities in northern California — San Mateo and Burlingame — have rent control proposals on the ballot this election year.

Analysis and Commentary

Random Thoughts

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Random thoughts on the passing scene: There seem to be fewer bumper stickers this year than in previous presidential election years. People may decide to vote for one of these candidates, but apparently they are not proud of their choice.

Analysis and Commentary

The Left's Vision

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The political left keeps announcing, as if it is a new breakthrough discovery of theirs, that life is unfair. Have they never read Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," more than two and a half centuries ago? What about economic historian David S. Landes' statement: "The world has never been a level playing field"?

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Immigration Controversies

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Despite controversies that rage over immigration, it is hard to see how anyone could be either for or against immigrants in general. First of all, there are no immigrants in general.

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