Famous American Economists

Do you know Adam Smith? The guy who appears on the back of £20 note. That is right! He is the mastermind behind concepts of free trade, market competition and the morality of private enterprise and his famous book of economics titled “Wealth of Nations” is the cornerstone of all modern day economic policies? Such is the clout of an economist over a nation, its people and its financial system. Calvin Coolidge has rightly said, "Economy is the method by which we prepare today to afford the improvements of tomorrow." Since time immemorial, economists have been providing people with invaluable insights on economic policies, banking, and money at large. They have been the guiding force behind a country’s economic growth and progress. They are the reasons why a layman understands how a foreign and domestic market operates. They help taxpayers make reasoned and rational choices for short-term and long-term financial benefits. Above all, the economists teach us how to manage and use finite resources like time and money. Today we explore the timeline, trivia, and interesting facts on some of America’s most renowned economists in the biographies below.

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
(American economist and statistician who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history.)

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 
Thomas Sowell
(Economist)

Thomas Sowell
10
Birthdate: June 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gastonia, North Carolina

One of the few personalities known for his disdain of self-promotion, Thomas Sowell is an important American social theorist and economist. Over the years, he has played a prominent role working as a faculty member of many prestigious universities, such as the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Cornell University

 3 
Daniel Kahneman
(Psychologist)

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.

 4 
Robert Reich
(22nd United States Secretary of Labor(1993 - 1997))

Robert Reich
9
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.

 5 
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.

 6 
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.

 7 
Ben Bernanke
(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.

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 8 
Jeffrey Sachs
(Economist)

Jeffrey Sachs
7
Birthdate: November 5, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

 9 
Paul Samuelson
(Economist)

Paul Samuelson
3
Birthdate: May 15, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States
Died: December 13, 2009

 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 
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.

 13 
Lawrence Kudlow
(Director of the National Economic Council)

Lawrence Kudlow
6
Birthdate: August 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Englewood, New Jersey

Lawrence Kudlow began his career as staff economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and then served as financial analyst at Wall Street, before joining the Ronald Reagan administration. Later he became an economic media commentator with National Review, and hosted several shows on CNBC. During the Trump administration, he served as Director of the National Economic Council.

 14 
Gary Becker
(Economist)

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

 15 
Kenneth Arrow
(Eonomist)

Kenneth Arrow
3
Birthdate: August 23, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 21, 2017

 16 
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

 17 
Michael Porter
(Economist, Researcher, Author, Advisor, Speaker and Teacher)

Michael Porter
4
Birthdate: May 23, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ann Arbor

 18 
Robert J. Shiller
(Economist, Writer, Educationist, University teacher)

Robert J. Shiller
4
Birthdate: March 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Detroit

 19 
George P. Shultz
(Economist)

George P. Shultz
6
Birthdate: December 13, 1920
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

 20 
Irving Fisher
(Economist, Statistician)

Irving Fisher
3
Birthdate: February 27, 1867
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saugerties
Died: April 29, 1947

 21 
Benjamin Graham
(Economist, Investor)

Benjamin Graham
6
Birthdate: May 8, 1894
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 21, 1976

 22 
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.

 23 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
(7th Director-General of the World Trade Organization)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
6
Birthdate: June 13, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ogwashi Ukwu, Nigeria

 24 
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.

 25 
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.

 26 
Henry George
(Economist, Politician, Writer)

Henry George
4
Birthdate: September 2, 1839
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: October 29, 1897

Henry George was a political economist and journalist. His work was very popular during the Progressive Era and sparked many reform movements. The economic philosophy known as Georgism is inspired by him. His book Progress and Poverty, considered his magnum opus, sold millions of copies worldwide. He was a vocal advocate for women's political rights. 

 27 
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.

 28 
Hyman Minsky
(Economist)

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

 29 
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.

 30 
Robert Solow
(Economist)

Robert Solow
3
Birthdate: August 23, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 31 
Herbert Simon
(Political scientist)

Herbert Simon
5
Birthdate: June 15, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Died: February 9, 2001

Herbert Simon was an American computer scientist, economist, cognitive psychologist, and political scientist. Best remembered for his theories of satisficing and bounded rationality, Simon was honored with the prestigious Turing Award in 1975. In 1978, he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Herbert Simon is considered one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence, complex systems, and organization theory.

 32 
James M. Buchanan
(Economist, University teacher)

James M. Buchanan
4
Birthdate: October 3, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Murfreesboro
Died: January 9, 2013

 33 
Tyler Cowen
(Economist, Educationist, Writer, Blogger, University teacher)

Tyler Cowen
4
Birthdate: January 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bergen County

 34 
Abhijit Banerjee
(Economist)

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.

 35 
Murray Rothbard
(Economist)

Murray Rothbard
6
Birthdate: March 2, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States
Died: January 7, 1995

 36 
Mohamed A. El-Erian
(Businessman)

Mohamed A. El-Erian
3
Birthdate: August 19, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Born to Egyptian parents in New York, Mohamed A. El-Erian grew up in the U.S., Egypt, and France, with his diplomat father. Educated at Cambridge and Oxford, he later served as the CEO of PIMCO. Apart from being a Bloomberg columnist, he has also written bestsellers such as When Markets Collide.

 37 
Janet Yellen
(78th United States Secretary of the Treasury)

Janet Yellen
7
Birthdate: August 13, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Economist Janet Yellen has had an illustrious career as an academic and researcher, and has taught at Harvard University and other reputed institutes. After chairing the Federal Reserve for 4 years, she is now the United States Secretary of the Treasury. She is married to Nobel-winning economist George Akerlof.

 38 
Alan Krueger
(Economist)

Alan Krueger
3
Birthdate: September 17, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Livingston, New Jersey, United States
Died: March 16, 2019

 39 
Thorstein Veblen
(Economist)

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

 40 
Peter R. Orszag
(CEO of Financial Advisory at Lazard)

Peter R. Orszag
3
Birthdate: December 16, 1968
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

 41 
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.

 42 
Harry Markowitz
(Economist)

Harry Markowitz
3
Birthdate: August 24, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 43 
David D. Friedman
(Economist, Physicist, Blogger, Writer, University teacher)

David D. Friedman
4
Birthdate: February 12, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City

Eminent scholar David D. Friedman has excelled in a wide range of academic areas, including economics, physics, law, and business. The Harvard alumnus is best known for his anarcho-capitalist theories and the book The Machinery of Freedom but has penned countless other books, too, including two science-fiction fantasy novels.

 44 
Paul Romer
(economist)

Paul Romer
4
Birthdate: November 6, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Denver

 45 
Douglass North
(Economist)

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

 46 
Phil Gramm
(Economist)

Phil Gramm
3
Birthdate: July 8, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Fort Benning, Georgia, United States U.S.

 47 
Greg Mankiw
(Economist, Blogger)

Greg Mankiw
3
Birthdate: February 3, 1958
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Trenton

 48 
Nouriel Roubini
(Economist, Art collector, University teacher)

Nouriel Roubini
3
Birthdate: March 29, 1958
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Istanbul

 49 
Dan Ariely
(One of the Most Influential Professors of Psychology and Behavioral Economics)

Dan Ariely
4
Birthdate: April 29, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Dan Ariely is an Israeli-American professor and author. He is the founder of the research institution, The Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the co-founder of several companies. Currently, he is also the James B. Duke Professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. He is the author of the three New York Times bestsellers as well. 

 50 
Stanley Fischer
(Economist, Educationist, Writer, Professor, Banker)

Stanley Fischer
3
Birthdate: October 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mazabuka

Stanley Fischer is an Israeli American economist. He was previously the chief economist at the World Bank and the vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve. In 2014, he was nominated by US President Barack Obama to be the vice-chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board of Governors. He is a member of the Inter-American Dialogue as well.