Famous Economists Of The 20th Century

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Economy plays a vital role in our society. From the prices of commodities and services to the normal functioning of a household and a country, it is the economy that controls our life and living predominantly as an external force. Though there have been greatest of economists who contributed comprehensively through their research, analysis and documentation, 20th century saw a surge in the number greatly. British economist, William Arthur Lewis was the first to explore the problems of the developing world in the post-war era through his theory of economic growth. US economist, James Buchanan was one of the famed and celebrated economists of the century who is best remembered as the founder of ‘public choice theory’. And while talking of greatest economists of the 20th century, US economist, Milton Friedman definitely deserves top mention. He was best known for his advocacy of monetarism, the control of aggregate demand solely by control of the money supply and his unflinching support of the market in virtually all areas of economic life. US economist, Kenneth Arrow developed the first rigorous proof of the existence of general equilibrium in a capitalist economy. And there are many others including, Irving Fisher, John Richard Hicks, Amartya Sen, Douglass North, Robert Merton, and so on. Discover some amazing life facts and career graph of the famous economists of the 20th century.
Vote for Your Favourite Economists Of The 20th Century
 1 
Milton Friedman
(American Economist & Nobel Prize Winner in Economic Sciences Who Extolled the Virtues of a Free Market Economic System)
Milton Friedman
7
Birthdate: July 31, 1912
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman was an American economist. Widely regarded as one of the most influential economists of the 20th century, Friedman was honored with the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1976. One of the most influential personalities of the Chicago school of economics, Friedman mentored people like Gary Becker and Thomas Sowell who went on to become leading economists.

 2 
John Maynard Keynes
11
Birthdate: June 5, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cambridge ,England
Died: April 21, 1946

John Maynard Keynes was an English economist. His ideas are credited with changing the theory and practice of the economic policies and macroeconomics of governments at a fundamental level. Counted among the 20th century's most influential economists, Keynes' ideas are the basis for Keynesian economics. In 1999, he was named in Time magazine's Most Important People of the Century list.

 3 
Amartya Sen
(Indian Philosopher, Economist and Winner of 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences)
Amartya Sen
7
Birthdate: November 3, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India
Indian economist Amartya Sen was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory. Sen is known for his development of more sophisticated measures of poverty, and also for his work on the causes and prevention of famines. He is considered an important contemporary liberal thinker for his views about the nature and primacy of liberty. 
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 4 
Friedrich von Hayek
8
Birthdate: May 8, 1899
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: March 23, 1992

A winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Friedrich von Hayek, was an advocate of classical liberalism. The Austrian-British economist, who was also a political philosopher, co-founded the Mont Pelerin Society. He worked at the London School of Economics, the University of Chicago and the University of Freiburg and authored the popular book, The Road to Serfdom.

 5 
Daniel Kahneman
(Winner of 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for His Work on the Psychology of Judgment and Decision-Making)
Daniel Kahneman
5
Birthdate: March 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli economist and psychologist. He was honored with the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on behavioral economics. In 2011, Kahneman was named among the top global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. In 2015, Daniel Kahneman was ranked seventh in the most influential economist in the world list published by The Economist.

 6 
Joseph Schumpeter
4
Birthdate: February 8, 1883
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Třešť, Czechia
Died: January 8, 1950
Business students remember Austrian economist and sociologist Joseph Schumpeter for his contribution to the concepts of entrepreneurship, creative destruction, and business cycles. An academic, who had also taught at Harvard, Schumpeter believed capitalism would someday automatically give way to socialism, a thought he expressed in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy
 7 
Paul Samuelson
(Economist)
Paul Samuelson
3
Birthdate: May 15, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States
Died: December 13, 2009
 8 
Jeffrey Sachs
(Economist)
Jeffrey Sachs
7
Birthdate: November 5, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
 9 
Rosa Luxemburg
(Revolutionary Socialist, Marxist Philosopher & Anti-War Activist)
Rosa Luxemburg
9
Birthdate: March 5, 1871
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zamosc, Poland
Died: January 15, 1919
Polish Marxist and socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg was a member of parties such as the SPD, the USPD, and the KPD. Luxemburg was an anti-war activist and taught economics and Marxism at SPD's Berlin training center. She was assassinated by the Freikorps troops during the German Revolution
 10 
Richard Thaler
(Nobel Prize Winner in Economics (2017))
Richard Thaler
5
Birthdate: September 12, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: East Orange, New Jersey, United States
 11 
Elinor Ostrom
(Economist, Political scientist, University teacher)
Elinor Ostrom
4
Birthdate: August 7, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles
Died: June 12, 2012
 12 
Peter Navarro
(Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy (2017-21))
Peter Navarro
9
Birthdate: July 15, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Economist and writer Peter Navarro has served as the Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy and the Director of the National Trade Council under former president Donald Trump. He has also authored books such as Death by China and taught at the University of California.
 13 
Robert Reich
(22nd United States Secretary of Labor (1993 - 1997))
Robert Reich
10
Birthdate: June 24, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States

Economist and University of California, Berkeley professor Robert Reich has also been the U.S. secretary of labor. His rare bone disorder made him a victim of bullies in childhood, but he later won the Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. His bestselling book Saving Capitalism was made into a Netflix documentary.

 14 
Gary Becker
(Economist)
Gary Becker
3
Birthdate: December 2, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pottsville, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: May 3, 2014
 15 
Ludwig von Mises
(One of the Most Influential Economic and Political Thinkers of the 20th Century)
Ludwig von Mises
10
Birthdate: September 29, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: October 10, 1973
A polyglot at age 12, Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises grew up to acquire a doctorate in law and taught at the universities of New York and Vienna. Known for his works such as The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, he supported free-market liberalism and opposed socialism. 
 16 
Manmohan Singh
(Former Prime Minister of India)
Manmohan Singh
11
Birthdate: September 26, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gah, Punjab, British India (present-day Punjab, Pakistan)

The 13th Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh became the first Sikh in office when he took office in 2004. A prominent economist and academic, he held several key posts in the Government of India in the 1970s and 1980s. Known for his humility, he  has been described by the media as "one of the world's most revered leaders."

 17 
Eric Weinstein
(Mathematician)
Eric Weinstein
6
Birthdate: October 26, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Apart from being the MD of Thiel Capital, mathematician and economist Eric Weinstein is also a researcher at Oxford. The Harvard alumnus had quit academia for 20 years before he returned again. He coined the term “intellectual dark web” and works on topics such as gauge theory, risk management, and immigration.

 18 
Ben Bernanke
(American Economist and 14th Chair of the Federal Reserve (2006-2014))
Ben Bernanke
7
Birthdate: December 13, 1953
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia, United States

Ben Bernanke is an American economist who served two terms as the chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 2006 to 2014, during which he supervised the Federal Reserve's response to the global financial crisis (GFC). For his efforts during GFC, Ben Bernanke was named Time Person of the Year in 2009.

 19 
António de Oliveira Salazar
(Former Acting President of Portugal)
António de Oliveira Salazar
4
Birthdate: April 28, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vimieiro (Santa Comba Dão), Portugal
Died: July 27, 1970
Portuguese economist António de Oliveira Salazar had been the prime minister of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. He had also been the minister of defense and finance, among others. He led to the Estado Novo, or New State, in Portugal. He opposed Nazism and fascism, and demilitarized his country.
 20 
Kenneth Arrow
(Eonomist)
Kenneth Arrow
3
Birthdate: August 23, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 21, 2017
 21 
Abhijit Banerjee
(Indian-born American Economist, Professor and 2019 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences)
Abhijit Banerjee
4
Birthdate: February 21, 1961
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Born to economics professor parents, Abhijit Banerjee grew up in India before he moved to the U.S. to study at Harvard. He later taught at Harvard and Princeton and is now associated with MIT. His studies on the ways of reducing world poverty won him a Nobel Prize.

 22 
Thabo Mbeki
(Politician, Economist)
Thabo Mbeki
5
Birthdate: June 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Transkei

Thabo Mbeki is a South African politician who is currently serving as the chancellor of the University of South Africa. From 1999 to 2008, he served as the president of South Africa. During his tenure as the president, the South African economy grew, creating employment opportunities. Over the years, he has received several awards, including the prestigious Good Governance Award.

 23 
George Osborne
(Politician, Economist)
George Osborne
6
Birthdate: May 23, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England

Conservative Party politician George Osborne is the son of Osborne & Little co-founder Sir Peter Osborne. He initially aspired to be a journalist but started his career as an MP from Tatton and later served as the Chancellor Of The Exchequer and the First Secretary of State of the U.K.

 24 
Dag Hammarskjöld
(Secretary-General of the United Nations (1953-61))
Dag Hammarskjöld
4
Birthdate: July 29, 1905
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Jönköping, Sweden
Died: September 18, 1961

Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat and economist. In 1953, Hammarskjöld became the youngest person to be appointed as the Secretary-General of the United Nations. He died in airplane crash in 1961. Dag Hammarskjöld became the first person to be honored with a Nobel Peace Prize posthumously.

 25 
Robert J. Shiller
(Economist, Writer, Educationist, University teacher)
Robert J. Shiller
4
Birthdate: March 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Detroit
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
4
Birthdate: May 17, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina

The queen consort of the Netherlands, Queen Máxima is the daughter of Argentine politician Jorge Zorreguieta. She initially worked in the sales departments of HDFC and Deutsche Bank. She apparently didn’t know she was meeting a prince when she met her husband, King Willem-Alexander, at the Seville Spring Fair.

 27 
Joseph E. Stiglitz
(Economist & Author)
Joseph E. Stiglitz
4
Birthdate: February 9, 1943
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gary

Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz is best known for his work on the theory of markets with asymmetric information. The MIT alumnus has taught at prestigious institutes such as Harvard and Stanford and currently teaches at Columbia University, He has been an economic advisor to the U.S. government, too.

 28 
Mario Draghi
(Economist, Banker, University teacher)
Mario Draghi
5
Birthdate: September 3, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome

The son of a banker father, Italian economist Mario Draghi initially served as the president of the European Central Bank and the Bank of Italy governor, and is the current prime minister of Italy. The media named him Super Mario for efficiently handling the Eurozone debt crisis.

 29 
Paul Krugman
(Columnist, Economist, Essayist, Blogger, University teacher, Actor, Pundit, Journalist, Writer)
Paul Krugman
8
Birthdate: February 28, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Albany

Economist Paul Krugman, who has taught at Yale, MIT, and Princeton, later won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, primarily for his work on the new trade theory and economic geography. He has also gained popularity for his op-ed column in The New York Times.

 30 
Ronald Coase
(Economist)
Ronald Coase
4
Birthdate: December 29, 1910
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Willesden, London, England
Died: September 2, 2013

British-American economist and Nobel laureate Ronald Coase was a significant figure of new institutional economics. As a child, he attended a school for the disabled due to weakness in his legs. The Chicago Law School professor is remembered for his iconic essays such as The Nature of the Firm.

 31 
Jens Stoltenberg
(Economist, Politician)
Jens Stoltenberg
7
Birthdate: March 16, 1959
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oslo

Jens Stoltenberg is a Norwegian politician who served as the Prime Minister of Norway between 2000 and 2013 in two separate terms. An influential politician, Stoltenberg also served as the Minister of Industry and Energy from 1993 to 1996 and Minister of Finance from 1996 to 1997. Jens Stoltenberg is the current Secretary General of NATO.

 32 
Robert Solow
(Economist)
Robert Solow
3
Birthdate: August 23, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
 33 
Raghuram Rajan
(Economist, 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (2013 - 2016))
Raghuram Rajan
7
Birthdate: February 3, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Raghuram Rajan is an Indian economist who served as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 2013 to 2016. He also served as the 15th Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India. For his significant contribution in the field of economics, Raghuram Rajan was honored with the Fischer Black Prize by the American Finance Association in 2003.

 34 
Arthur Laffer
(Economist)
Arthur Laffer
8
Birthdate: August 14, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio, United States

Yale and Stanford alumnus Arthur Laffer is now one of the greatest economists of the U.S. Best known for his Laffer curve and his theory of taxes that explained how low tax rates could eventually provide higher revenues, he has been crucial to the American tax system.

 35 
James M. Buchanan
(Economist, University teacher)
James M. Buchanan
4
Birthdate: October 3, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Murfreesboro
Died: January 9, 2013
 36 
Hyman Minsky
(Economist)
Hyman Minsky
3
Birthdate: September 23, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: October 24, 1996
 37 
Li Keqiang
(Politician, Economist)
Li Keqiang
5
Birthdate: July 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dingyuan County
 38 
Lawrence Summers
(71st United States Secretary of the Treasury(1999 - 2001))
Lawrence Summers
6
Birthdate: November 30, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Apart from being the president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers has also been the U.S. secretary of the treasury, the World Bank’s chief economist, and the NEC director. The MIT alumnus became one of the youngest tenured faculty members at Harvard. He also writes regularly for The Washington Post.

 39 
George P. Shultz
(Economist)
George P. Shultz
6
Birthdate: December 13, 1920
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
 40 
Paul Volcker
(Former Chair of the Federal Reserve)
Paul Volcker
5
Birthdate: September 5, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cape May, New Jersey, United States
Died: December 8, 2019
 41 
Michael Porter
(Economist, Researcher, Author, Advisor, Speaker and Teacher)
Michael Porter
4
Birthdate: May 23, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ann Arbor
 42 
Murray Rothbard
(Economist)
Murray Rothbard
6
Birthdate: March 2, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States
Died: January 7, 1995
 43 
Tyler Cowen
(Economist, Educationist, Writer, Blogger, University teacher)
Tyler Cowen
4
Birthdate: January 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bergen County
 44 
Scott Adams
(Comics artist, Economist, Journalist)
Scott Adams
7
Birthdate: June 8, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Windham (town), New York

Best known for his iconic comic strip Dilbert, Scott Adams has an MBA degree and has worked in banks and tech firms earlier. The character Dilbert first appeared in Adams’s office presentations and was inspired by his co-workers. His social-media video series, Coffee with Scott Adams, too, was quite popular.

 45 
Benjamin Graham
(Economist, Investor)
Benjamin Graham
6
Birthdate: May 8, 1894
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 21, 1976
 46 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
(Nigerian-American Economist Who Has Served in Several Ministerial Positions in Nigeria)
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
6
Birthdate: June 13, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ogwashi Ukwu, Nigeria
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian-American economist and political figure. She served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006 before serving as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy of Nigeria from 17 August 2011 to 29 May 2015. Ngozi also served as the Minister of Finance on two separate occasions; from 2003 to 2006 and again from 2011 to 2015.
 47 
Esther Duflo
(American-French Economist)
Esther Duflo
5
Birthdate: October 25, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France

Esther Duflo is a French–American economist. She is credited with co-founding the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a global research center that works towards reducing poverty worldwide. In 2019, she shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Michael Kremer and Abhijit Banerjee for their efforts to reduce poverty.

 48 
John Kenneth Galbraith
(Famous for His Trilogy on Economics 'American Capitalism', 'The Affluent Society' and 'The New Industrial State')
John Kenneth Galbraith
5
Birthdate: October 15, 1908
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Iona Station, Canada
Died: April 29, 2006

John Kenneth Galbraith was an intellectual, diplomat, economist, and public official. One of the most influential exponents of 20th-century American liberalism, Galbraith published many books concerning the American economy. Galbraith is one of the few individuals to be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Medal of Freedom. He also received 50 honorary degrees from various institutions.

 49 
Mark Carney
(Governor of the Bank of England (2013 - 2020))
Mark Carney
5
Birthdate: March 16, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fort Smith, Canada

After his 13-year stint with Goldman Sachs, Mark Carney served as the governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England. He was also part of the Canadian finance department. He is an ice-hockey lover and played the sport actively during the school and university days.

 50 
Yulia Navalnaya
(Economist)
Yulia Navalnaya
5
Birthdate: July 24, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

Born to a scientist father, Yulia Navalnaya grew up to be an acclaimed economist. She met her husband, lawyer and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, while vacationing in Turkey. She has since been beside him through a number of tumultuous events, including his alleged poisoning by Russian officials.