Famous Economists Of The 20th Century

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.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman.
6
Famous As: Economist, Statistician
Birthdate: July 31, 1912
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA
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 Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen.
6
Famous As: Economist & Philosopher
Birthdate: November 3, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Santiniketan
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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 3 Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman.
4
Famous As: American-Israeli psychologist
Birthdate: March 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tel Aviv, 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.

 4 Joseph Schumpeter

Joseph Schumpeter.
4
Famous As: Economist
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

 5 Richard Thaler

Richard Thaler.
4
Famous As: Nobel Prize Winner in Economics (2017)
Birthdate: September 12, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: East Orange, New Jersey, United States

 6 Murray Rothbard

Murray Rothbard.
4
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: March 2, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States
Died: January 7, 1995

 7 Paul Samuelson

Paul Samuelson.
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: May 15, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gary
Died: December 13, 2009
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 8 Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom
3
Famous As: Economist, Political scientist, University teacher
Birthdate: August 7, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles
Died: June 12, 2012

 9 Robert J. Shiller

Robert J. Shiller
3
Famous As: Economist, Writer, Educationist, University teacher
Birthdate: March 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Detroit

 10 Gary Becker

Gary Becker.
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: December 2, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pottsville, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: May 3, 2014

 11 Raghuram Rajan

Raghuram Rajan.
6
Famous As: Adviser
Birthdate: February 3, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bhopal

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.

 12 Robert Reich

Robert Reich
6
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 24, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA

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.

 13 Vicente Fox

Vicente Fox
4
Famous As: Politician, Economist
Birthdate: July 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: León

 14 George Osborne

George Osborne
4
Famous As: Politician, Economist
Birthdate: May 23, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paddington

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.

 15 Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman
6
Famous As: Columnist, Economist, Essayist, Blogger, University teacher, Actor, Pundit, Journalist, Writer
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.

 16 Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson
4
Famous As: Writer, Economic historian, Historian, University teacher, Journalist, Economist
Birthdate: April 18, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Glasgow

Harvard professor and Stanford senior fellow Niall Ferguson is a Scottish historian who has penned countless books, such as The Pity of War and The House of Rothschild. Named to Time 100 in 2004, he also created an Emmy-winning series, The Ascent of Money and wrote for Bloomberg.

 17 Robert Solow

Robert Solow.
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: August 23, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York

 18 António de Oliveira Salazar

António de Oliveira Salazar.
4
Famous As: Former Acting President of Portugal
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.

 19 Joseph E. Stiglitz

Joseph E. Stiglitz.
4
Famous As: Economist & Author
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.

 20 Scott Adams

Scott Adams
4
Famous As: Comics artist, Economist, Journalist
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.

 21 Thabo Mbeki

Thabo Mbeki
4
Famous As: Politician, Economist
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.

 22 Ronald Coase

Ronald Coase.
3
Famous As: Economist
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.

 23 James M. Buchanan

James M. Buchanan
3
Famous As: Economist, University teacher
Birthdate: October 3, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Murfreesboro
Died: January 9, 2013

 24 Greg Mankiw

Greg Mankiw
3
Famous As: Economist, Blogger
Birthdate: February 3, 1958
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Trenton

 25 Nouriel Roubini

Nouriel Roubini
3
Famous As: Economist, Art collector, University teacher
Birthdate: March 29, 1958
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Istanbul

 26 William Lyon Mackenzie King

William Lyon Mackenzie King
4
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of Canada
Birthdate: December 17, 1874
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Died: July 22, 1950

Canadian statesman and politician Mackenzie King OM CMG PC, was the 10th prime minister of Canada. He held the position for three non-consecutive terms with a total of over 21 years in office and emerged as the longest-serving prime minister in the history of Canada. He remained instrumental in laying the foundations of the Canadian welfare state.

 27 Subramanian Swamy

Subramanian Swamy
9
Famous As: Economist, Politician, Author
Birthdate: September 15, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mylapore

Indian politician Subramanian Swamy, who is a BJP MP, has also been the president of the Janata Party earlier. Known for his far-right views, he was previously a professor economics at IIT, Delhi. He boasts of a PhD from Harvard and has penned several books, such as Terrorism in India.

 28 Peter Kropotkin

Peter Kropotkin.
4
Famous As: Philosopher & Activist
Birthdate: December 9, 1842
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: February 8, 1921

Russian philosopher Peter Kropotkin was a passionate advocate of anarcho-communism. He was also an activist, revolutionary, economist, and sociologist. He was arrested and imprisoned for his activism in 1874. However, he managed to escape and lived in exile for over 40 years in different countries across Europe. He returned to Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. 

 29 Tyler Cowen

Tyler Cowen
3
Famous As: Economist, Educationist, Writer, Blogger, University teacher
Birthdate: January 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bergen County

 30 Hyman Minsky

Hyman Minsky
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: September 23, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: October 24, 1996

 31 Benoit Mandelbrot

Benoit Mandelbrot
4
Famous As: Mathematician, Economist, Professor, Scientist, Writer, Computer scientist
Birthdate: November 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Warsaw
Died: October 14, 2010

Noted mathematician and polymath, Benoit B. Mandelbrot is perhaps best known for his work on fractal. He not only coined the term, but also used computer-constructed images to illustrate the mathematical definition. Also credited with the discovery of Mandelbrot set and Mandelbrot law, he established that even those things which were apparently chaotic or rough had a "degree of order".

 32 Jens Stoltenberg

Jens Stoltenberg
4
Famous As: Economist, Politician
Birthdate: March 16, 1959
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oslo

 33 Herbert Simon

Herbert Simon.
4
Famous As: Economist, Political scientist, sociologist, psychologist, and professor
Birthdate: June 15, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Milwaukee
Died: February 9, 2001

 34 Simone Weil

Simone Weil.
4
Famous As: Philosopher, mystic and social activist
Birthdate: February 3, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris
Died: August 24, 1943
Paris-born philosopher and activist Simone Weil could speak in Sanskrit and Greek as a student. Called The Martian by her classmates, due to her peculiar nature, she died of cardiac failure at 34, refusing to eat more than the people of German-occupied France, in spite of being diagnosed with tuberculosis. 

 35 Viktor Yushchenko

Viktor Yushchenko
4
Famous As: Economist, Politician, Banker
Birthdate: February 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Khoruzhivka

 36 Michael Porter

Michael Porter.
4
Famous As: Economist, Researcher, Author, Advisor, Speaker and Teacher
Birthdate: May 23, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ann Arbor

 37 Anita Bose Pfaff

Anita Bose Pfaff.
4
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: November 29, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Anita Bose Pfaff is an economist and the only daughter of Indian freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his Austrian wife/companion Emilie Schenkl. Anita was just 4 months old when Netaji left them to fight against the British with Japan’s help. Anita was singlehandedly raised by Emilie.

 38 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
4
Famous As: Diplomat, Economist
Birthdate: June 13, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ogwashi-Uku

 39 Benjamin Graham

Benjamin Graham.
6
Famous As: Economist, Investor
Birthdate: May 9, 1894
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: September 21, 1976

 40 John Kenneth Galbraith

John Kenneth Galbraith.
4
Famous As: Economist
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.

 41 Sir Arthur Lewis

Sir Arthur Lewis.
4
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: January 23, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Castries, Saint Lucia
Died: June 15, 1991

 42 Thorstein Veblen

Thorstein Veblen.
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: July 30, 1857
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cato, Wisconsin, United States
Died: August 3, 1929

 43 Hjalmar Schacht

Hjalmar Schacht.
4
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: January 22, 1877
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tinglev, Denmark
Died: June 3, 1970

German banker Hjalmar Schacht was appreciated for his role in saving the Weimar Republic from inflation and later served as the Reichsminister of Economics under Adolf Hitler. Following as assassination attempt on Hitler, her was imprisoned, but was later freed and then set up his own bank in Düsseldorf.

 44 Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus.
4
Birthdate: June 28, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chittagong
More like a messiah to the poor, Muhammad Yunus initially helped poverty-stricken weavers of Bangladesh with small loans and eventually set up the Grameen Bank. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning social entrepreneur serves several charities, too. He was eventually removed from Grameen Bank by the government, due to old age.

 45 Joan Robinson

Joan Robinson
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: October 31, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Surrey, England
Died: August 5, 1983

Post-Keynesian economist Joan Robinson specialized in monetary economics and is remembered for her research and academic activities in India, China, and Korea. Initially a Cambridge lecturer, she later taught at Girton College and became the first woman to be made an honorary fellow of King's College.

 46 Sergey Shoygu

Sergey Shoygu
4
Famous As: Politician, Military personnel, Economist
Birthdate: May 21, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chadan

 47 John R Hicks

John R Hicks.
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: April 8, 1904
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Warwick, England
Died: May 20, 1989

Noted British economist Sir John Hicks, counted among the leading economists of the twentieth century, made significant contributions to general equilibrium theory and welfare theory for which he jointly received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. His book Value and Capital is regarded as a classic exposition of microeconomic theory and includes extension of general equilibrium theory.

 48 Douglass North

Douglass North.
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: November 5, 1920
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Died: November 23, 2015

 49 Ernesto Zedillo

Ernesto Zedillo
3
Famous As: Economist, University teacher, Author
Birthdate: December 27, 1951
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mexico City

 50 Wen Jiabao

Wen Jiabao
3
Famous As: Politician, Geologist, Economist
Birthdate: September 15, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tianjin

Wen Jiabao is a retired Chinese politician who served as the country's head of government from 2003 to 2013. As Premier, Wen Jiabao played a major role in directing Beijing's economic policy. Nicknamed the people's premier, Wen worked towards bettering the lives of migrant workers and farmers rather than focusing on GDP growth in rich coastal areas and large cities.