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

Hoover senior fellow Thomas Sowell
In the News

Thomas Sowell: A Birthday Appreciation

featuring Thomas Sowellvia Forbes
Sunday, June 30, 2019

As I mentioned last month in an homage to one of his regular features, my intellectual hero is Thomas Sowell. Today is Dr. Sowell's 89th birthday. Since turning 80, he has published Intellectuals and Race, Wealth, Poverty, and Politics (with a second revised edition coming a year later), a couple of new editions of his Basic Economics, and Discrimination and Disparities. I read Sowell's memoir, A Personal Odyssey, in one sitting when it came out, and I've never read a Sowell book and thought it a poor use of my time.

In the News

Happy 89th Birthday (June 30) To Thomas Sowell, One Of The Greatest Living Economists

featuring Thomas Sowellvia American Enterprise Institute
Saturday, June 29, 2019

One of my all-time most favorite economists — Thomas Sowell — turns 89 tomorrow, he was born on June 30, 1930. Here is Thomas Sowell’s webpage and here is his Wikipedia entry. Milton Friedman once said, “The word ‘genius’ is thrown around so much that it’s becoming meaningless, but nevertheless I think Tom Sowell is close to being one.”

In the News

Thomas Sowell Quotes

quoting Thomas Sowellvia American Enterprise Institute
Friday, June 28, 2019

It’s Thomas Sowell’s birthday on Sunday, and I’ll have a longer birthday post for Dr. Sowell tomorrow. For now, here are ten great quotes from the chapter “Random Thoughts” that appears in Sowell’s 2006 book “Ever Wonder Why? And Other Controversial Essays“:

Interviews

Thomas Sowell Talks About Discrimination, Race, And Social Justice

interview with Thomas Sowellvia The Federalist
Thursday, June 13, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell talks about his new book Discrimination and Disparities,  as well as his life's works.

In the News

Author Takes On Race, Economic Platitudes In 'Discrimination'

featuring Thomas Sowellvia The Mercury
Sunday, June 9, 2019

Noted professor, columnist and author Thomas Sowell is 87 years old and has added another book to his impressive output: “Discrimination and Disparities.” His writings have spanned decades, and there is little in this book that he has not written about before.

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Thomas Sowell on the Origins of Economic Disparities

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, May 17, 2019

AUDIO ONLY

Thomas Sowell discusses the newly revised edition of his book Discrimination and Disparities.

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Thomas Sowell On The Origins Of Economic Disparities

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, May 17, 2019

Thomas Sowell discusses the newly revised edition of his book Discrimination and Disparities.

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

Fellows With Friedman

featuring John H. Cochrane , Michael J. Boskin, David R. Henderson, Thomas Sowell, Richard A. Epstein, Alvin Rabushka, Robert E. Hallvia PolicyEd
Thursday, May 16, 2019

In a Wall Street Journalop-ed, “America Needs an Alternative Maximum Tax,” John Cochrane proposes a new kind of tax that caps the amount that people would pay in taxes to prevent indefinite tax-rate hikes. He asks, “How much is the most anyone should have to pay? When do taxes indisputably start to harm the economy and produce less revenue—when government takes 50% of people's income? 60%? 70%?” If there is a maximum amount that an individual pays, then once past that cap they wouldn’t pay any further federal income tax for that year.

In the News

Discrimination And Disparities II

featuring Thomas Sowellvia Front Page Magazine
Monday, May 13, 2019

How Thomas Sowell's new book turns the thinking of many politicians, academicians, legal experts and judges to mush.

In the News

Discrimination And Disparities II

featuring Thomas Sowellvia Creators
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Last week's column discussed Dr. Thomas Sowell's newest book "Discrimination and Disparities," which is an enlarged and revised edition of an earlier version. In this review, I am going to focus on one of his richest chapters titled "Social Visions and Human Consequences." Sowell challenges the seemingly invincible fallacy "that group outcomes in human endeavors would tend to be equal, or at least comparable or random, if there were no biased interventions, on the one hand, nor genetic deficiencies, on the other." But disparate impact statistics carries the day among academicians, lawyers and courts as evidence of discrimination.

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