Thomas Sowell

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

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 book, Discrimination and Disparities (2018), gathers a wide array of empirical evidence to challenge the idea that different economic outcomes can be explained by any one factor, be it discrimination, exploitation or genetics. His 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), The Vision of the Anointed (1995), Barbarians Inside the Gates (1999), and The Quest for Cosmic Justice (1999). On the history of ideas he has written Marxism (1985) and Conflict of Vision (1987). 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 in 1989. 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 in 2006.

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

Thomas Sowell is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy
In the News

A Celebration of Nonagenarian Dr. Thomas Sowell

featuring Thomas Sowellvia NewsMax
Monday, July 20, 2020

Dr. Thomas Sowell, one of America's most distinguished public scholars, celebrated four score and ten years on June 30, and what a remarkable journey, geographically, intellectually and spiritually, this former resident of Harlem has traveled.

In the News

Thomas Sowell’s Wise Words On ‘Racism’

featuring Thomas Sowellvia The Conservative Woman
Sunday, July 19, 2020

Thomas Sowell is a noted economist and one of America’s great public intellectuals. He also happens to be black. Last week he told Fox News that in his view systemic racism ‘really has no meaning that can be specified and tested in the way that one tests hypotheses’.

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.
In the News

Doubting Thomas: The Movie

featuring Thomas Sowellvia Ricochet
Saturday, July 18, 2020
One of the frequent complaints from the right is that the left “owns the culture” and that the right has no presence in mass media. This is one of Andrew Klavan’s primary beefs on his podcast. He’s not wrong, you know. We’re constantly bombarded with movies and shows that are overt love songs to the hard-left but we have precious few media projects that are right-leaning.
Thomas Sowell in front of a black background with an Uncommon Knowledge mug
In the News

Friday Short Cuts

quoting Thomas Sowellvia The Patriot Post
Friday, July 17, 2020

“The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.” —Thomas Sowell.

In the News

Editorial: Charter Schools Close Racial Gap

featuring Thomas Sowellvia
Monday, July 13, 2020

Economist Thomas Sowell, 90, has just published a book that one reviewer called “a neutron bomb in the middle of the school-reform debate.” In “Charter Schools and Their Enemies,” Dr. Sowell released the result of his “apples-to-apples” study of public charter schools in New York City. The 23,000 mostly low-income minority students he studied who attended charter schools lived in the same neighborhoods and even shared the same buildings with their traditional public school counterparts.

In the News

Thomas Sowell: Joe Biden Win Could Signal 'Point Of No Return For This Country'

featuring Thomas Sowellvia The Washington Times
Monday, July 13, 2020

Economist and libertarian conservative philosopher Thomas Sowell warned Sunday that the country could reach the “point of no return” if presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the election and ushers in the radical left.

In the News

Thomas Sowell On The Madness

featuring Thomas Sowellvia Powerline
Monday, July 13, 2020

Thomas Sowell just turned 90, but he is still on the case. Indeed, his new book — Charter Schools and Their Enemies — was published on his 90th birthday. Among the many tributes to Sowell at 90 are this one by Steve Hanke and Richard Ebeling at NR, this one by Mark Perry at AEI, and this one by his friend Walter Williams at Jewish World Review.

In the News

Sowell At 90. Isn't It High Time More of Us Listened to This Man?

featuring Thomas Sowellvia American Thinker
Monday, July 13, 2020

Fifty-five-plus books on the table and more on the way. Charter Schools and Their Enemies, another bestseller, is hot off the press. The Thomas Sowell corpus stands as one of the rare and most impressive monuments of massive and meticulous research ever erected on this earth by one person. 


Thomas Sowell On 'Utter Madness' Of Defund The Police Push, Wonders Whether Us Is Reaching Point Of No Return

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Yahoo News
Sunday, July 12, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell discusses his new book, Charter Schools and Their Enemies, as well as the ongoing social unrest.


Thomas Sowell Says Concept Of Systemic Racism 'Has No Meaning,' Warns Us Could Reach 'Point Of No Return'

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Fox News
Sunday, July 12, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell talks about systemic racism.