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

Thomas Sowell in front of a black background with an Uncommon Knowledge mug
Interviews

Thomas Sowell Sounds Alarm To Mark Levin About The Left's Efforts To Cripple Charter Schools

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Fox News
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell weighs in on what he sees as a trend across the United States to stop the growth of charter schools.

Thomas Sowell in front of a black background with an Uncommon Knowledge mug
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Thomas Sowell, An Intellectual Giant

by David R. Henderson featuring Thomas Sowellvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

An American sage turns 90. 

In the News

Thomas Sowell At 90 Is More Relevant Than Ever

featuring Thomas Sowellvia National Review
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Yesterday, Thomas Sowell turned 90. And he is more relevant than ever. Sowell, a frequent contributor to National Review and prodigious scholar, has delivered yet another insightful and accessible book, Charter Schools and Their Enemies. It was released on his birthday — a gift from Sowell to the rest of us.

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Charter Schools and Their Enemies

by Thomas Sowellvia Basic Books
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A leading conservative intellectual defends charter schools against the teachers’ unions, politicians, and liberal educators who threaten to dismantle their success.

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.
Featured

Happy Birthday And A Terrific New Book By Thomas Sowell

by John B. Taylor featuring Thomas Sowellvia Economics One
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Thomas Sowell has a new book. It is terrific and timely. It is called Charter Schools and Their Enemies, officially published today, June 30, 2020, which happens to be his 90th birthday. Happy Birthday, Tom, and thank you writing such a beautiful book.

Thomas Sowell lauds Friedman’s life and his impact on modern economics and public policy.
In the News

Thomas Sowell: The Left’s Marxist Ideology Is A Fragile ‘House Of Cards’ Beneath The Howling Surface

featuring Thomas Sowellvia Business and Politics
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Economist Thomas Sowell says the left’s hair-brained Marxist ideology is so fragile that it “falls apart like a house of cards” under the slightest scrutiny.

Thomas Sowell
In the News

Happy 90th Birthday, Thomas Sowell

featuring Thomas Sowellvia Legal Insurrection
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Today is Thomas Sowell’s 90th birthday, and I want to wish him a very happy one.

Hoover senior fellow Thomas Sowell
In the News

Thomas Sowell At 90

featuring Thomas Sowellvia CATO
Monday, June 29, 2020
On June 30, 2020, Thomas Sowell turns 90. He is one of the most important economic and social thinkers of the last 50 years. I say that, recognizing that his career overlapped such luminaries as Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.
Thomas Sowell lauds Friedman’s life and his impact on modern economics and public policy.
In the News

An Underappreciated American Scholar

featuring Thomas Sowellvia Creators
Monday, June 29, 2020
Dr. Thomas Sowell has been both a friend and a colleague of mine for over a half-century. On June 30, he will have completed his 90th year of life, and I want to highlight some important features of that life.
Interviews

Thomas Sowell And John Yoo: School Of Sowell

interview with Thomas Sowell, John Yoovia The Ricochet Podcast
Friday, June 26, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell discusses his new book Charter Schools and Their Enemies and Hoover Institution fellow John Yoo discusses last week’s curious Supreme Court DACA and Bostock decisions.

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