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

Part 3 of 3: To Know The Studier Is To Know The Results Of The Study

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Friday, August 18, 2006

Often we hear that "all the experts agree" that A is better than B or that "studies prove" A to be better than B…

Analysis and Commentary

Gay-marriage advocates ignore history, reality

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Thursday, August 17, 2006

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

Analysis and Commentary

Part 2 of 3: It Pays To Check The Facts Behind 'Studies Prove'

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Thursday, August 17, 2006

My late mentor, Nobel Prize-winning economist George Stigler, used to say that it could be very instructive to spend a few hours in a library checking up on studies that had been cited…

Analysis and Commentary

This cease-fire is a sham, and Hezbollah will attack Israel again

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How many cease-fires have there been in the Middle East – or is the number too large to remember…

Analysis and Commentary

What 'studies prove' is what government wants

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Saturday, August 12, 2006

W henever I hear the phrase "studies prove" this or that, it makes me think back to the beginning of my career as an economist at the Labor Department in Washington…

Analysis and Commentary

A glimmer of hope

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, August 8, 2006

It was a common political move when Chicago's city council voted recently to impose a $10 an hour minimum wage on big-box retailers…

Analysis and Commentary

Instead of a draft, let ROTC back on campus

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Thursday, August 3, 2006

There was a time when most members of Congress had served in the military, as had many people in the media…

Memories . . . of the Way We Weren't

by Thomas Sowellvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, July 30, 2006

Glory days: Why liberals can't let go of their self-serving myths about the sixties. By Thomas Sowell.

Analysis and Commentary

Cease-fire calls ring hollow in light of WWII history

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Thursday, July 27, 2006

Those of us old enough to remember World War II face many painful reminders of how things have changed in Americans' behavior during a war…

Analysis and Commentary

More amnesty fraud

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Just when it looked like the Senate Republicans had finally gotten the message that the American people in general, and their own supporters in particular, are outraged over amnesty for illegal aliens, some Republican Senators have come up with yet another disguise for amnesty — and gotten bipartisan support, including Ted Kennedy and John McCain…

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