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.

Vote for Your Favourite American Economists

 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 Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell.
7
Famous As: Economist
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 Alan Greenspan

Alan Greenspan.
6
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: March 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Washington Heights, New York, United States
Economist Alan Greenspan chaired the U.S. Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006. It is believed that his easy money policies had caused the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008. He now works as a consultant through his organization Greenspan Associates LLC. He was also trained in clarinet at the Juilliard School.

 4 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

 5 Robert Reich

Robert Reich.
5
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.

 6 Peter Navarro

Peter Navarro.
4
Famous As: Economist
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.

 7 Eric Weinstein

Eric Weinstein
4
Famous As: Mathematician
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.

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 8 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

 9 Paul Samuelson

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

 10 Jeffrey Sachs

Jeffrey Sachs.
5
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: November 5, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

 11 Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke.
6
Famous As: Economist
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.

 12 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

 13 Lawrence Kudlow

Lawrence Kudlow.
4
Famous As: Director of the National Economic Council
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 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.

 15 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.

 16 Robert J. Shiller

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

 17 Lawrence Summers

Lawrence Summers
4
Famous As: Economist
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.

 18 Gary Becker

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

 19 Kenneth Arrow

Kenneth Arrow.
3
Famous As: Economist & Political Theorist
Birthdate: August 23, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, USA
Died: February 21, 2017

 20 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

 21 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.

 22 Paul Volcker

Paul Volcker.
4
Famous As: Former Chair of the Federal Reserve
Birthdate: September 5, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cape May, New Jersey, United States
Died: December 8, 2019

 23 Michael Porter

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

 24 Benjamin Graham

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

 25 Robert Solow

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

 26 Irving Fisher

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

 27 Henry George

Henry George.
4
Famous As: Economist, Politician, Writer
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. 

 28 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

 29 Greg Mankiw

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

 30 Nouriel Roubini

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

 31 George P. Shultz

George P. Shultz
4
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: December 13, 1920
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

 32 Tyler Cowen

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

 33 Hyman Minsky

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

 34 Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen
6
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: August 13, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, 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.

 35 Thorstein Veblen

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

 36 Peter R. Orszag

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

 37 Paul Romer

Paul Romer
3
Famous As: economist
Birthdate: November 6, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Denver

 38 Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama
4
Famous As: Writer, Political scientist, Blogger, Economist
Birthdate: October 27, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago

The son of a Japanese-American church minister, Francis Fukuyama was born in Chicago and had virtually no association with the Japanese culture. Educated at Cornell and Harvard, the political economist and academic is associated with Stanford and has penned the iconic book The End of History and the Last Man.

 39 Arthur Laffer

Arthur Laffer
5
Famous As: Economist
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.

 40 Steven Levitt

Steven Levitt
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: May 29, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

 41 Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein
3
Famous As: Economist, Geopolitician, Economic historian, Historian, Political scientist, Writer, Sociologist, University teacher
Birthdate: September 28, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City

Sociologist, author, and economic historian Immanuel Wallerstein is best remembered for his iconic work The Modern World System, which was the first volume of his world-system theory. He was a Yale researcher and had first been driven to understand world history when he read up about the anticolonial movement in India.

 42 Harry Markowitz

Harry Markowitz.
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: August 24, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA

 43 Phil Gramm

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

 44 Douglass North

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

 45 David D. Friedman

David D. Friedman
3
Famous As: Economist, Physicist, Blogger, Writer, University teacher
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.

 46 Jeremy Rifkin

Jeremy Rifkin
3
Famous As: Economist, Sociologist, Writer, Prospectivist, University teacher
Birthdate: January 26, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Denver

 47 Eugene Fama

Eugene Fama
3
Famous As: Economist, Educationist, University teacher
Birthdate: February 14, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boston

 48 Harry Dexter White

Harry Dexter White
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: October 29, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 16, 1948

 49 James Tobin

James Tobin.
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: March 5, 1918
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Champaign
Died: March 11, 2002

 50 Paul Wolfowitz

Paul Wolfowitz
4
Famous As: Political scientist, Diplomat, Politician, Economist, Banker
Birthdate: December 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ithaca