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

Analysis and Commentary

Can We Talk?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 17, 2006

There are very few saints among people of any race, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation…

Analysis and Commentary

Frivolous Politics: Part IV

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Thursday, October 12, 2006

Choosing candidates to vote for at election time is not like choosing a buddy or choosing some sports or entertainment figure to idolize...

Analysis and Commentary

Frivolous Politics

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

With a war going on in Iraq and with Iran next door moving steadily toward a nuclear bomb that could change the course of world history in the hands of international terrorists, the question for this year's elections is not whether you or your candidate is a Democrat or a Republican but whether you are serious or frivolous...

Analysis and Commentary

Socialism for the rich

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Thursday, October 5, 2006

Although socialism has long claimed to be for the poor, it has probably done more damage, on net balance, to the poor than to the rich...

Analysis and Commentary

Terrifying revelations

by Thomas Sowellvia Tribune Media Services
Thursday, September 28, 2006

Recent weeks have told us more than we wanted to know about ourselves and about our enemies...

Analysis and Commentary

Scholars sometimes close books on inquiry

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Thursday, September 21, 2006

O ften 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

Suicidal hand-wringing

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

When you enter a boxing ring, you agree to abide by the rules of boxing...

Analysis and Commentary

Crime book demolishes 'root cause' arguments

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Saturday, September 16, 2006

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

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...