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 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

Analysis and Commentary

Cheap shot journalism

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Recently one of those increasingly familiar New York Times editorials disguised as news stories was headlined "Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa...

Analysis and Commentary

The new nomenklatura

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Thursday, September 7, 2006

One of the bitter ironies of the 20th century was that communism, which began as an egalitarian doctrine accusing capitalism of selfishness and calloused sacrifices of others, became in power a system whose selfishness and callousness toward others made the sins of capitalism pale...

Analysis and Commentary

Random thoughts on the passing scene

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Someone said that good judgment comes from experience — which in turn comes from bad judgment...

Analysis and Commentary

The Point Of No Return

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It is hard to think of a time when a nation - and a whole civilization - has drifted more futilely toward a bigger catastrophe than that looming over the United States and western civilization today…

Analysis and Commentary

Skewed views of crime

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Sunday, August 27, 2006

Do higher rates of imprisonment reduce crime…

Analysis and Commentary

Part 2 of 2: Left's Easy Answers On Crime

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Friday, August 25, 2006

Do higher rates of imprisonment reduce crime...

Analysis and Commentary

Race and economics

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Friday, August 25, 2006

Andrew Young's statement that blacks have been "ripped off" by stores run by Jews, Koreans, and Arabs has been rightly criticized and he has apologized...

Analysis and Commentary

Nuclear Iran could be a disaster for U.S.

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Thursday, August 24, 2006

I t is hard to think of a time when a nation -- and a whole civilization -- has drifted more futilely toward a bigger catastrophe than that looming over the United States and western civilization today...

Analysis and Commentary

Part 1 of 2: The Left And Crime: It's The Same No Matter Where You Go

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The general mindset of the political left is similar from country to country and even from century to century...

Analysis and Commentary

No one is legally entitled to public approval

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Monday, August 21, 2006

Now that a number of state courts have refused to redefine marriage to include same-sex unions, cries of "discrimination" are being heard…

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