Famous British Economists

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An economist is a person who studies and develops the theories and concepts of economics. A branch of social science, economics is a wide-ranging field and includes many sub-fields on which an economist studies and makes his references. Economists create, propose and implement policies by understanding the intricacies of the subject. Though this a separate branch of social science, the world has been witness to numerous instances wherein people from various backgrounds such as mathematics, business, political science, law, sociology and even history turn into being prominent economists. Just like every other country in the world, Britain too has a long list of economists who have served for the welfare of the country. The list include names like William Beveridge most famous for his 1942 report Social Insurance and Allied Services, Sir Anthony Tony Atkinson noted for establishing the British field of inequality and poverty, John Hicks well-known for his pioneering on general economic equilibrium theory, James Meade famed for his path breaking contribution to the theory of international trade and capital movements, and the recent Nobel laureate Angus Deaton. Check this segment to find out more about noted and famous British economists, their life, their works, their theories and their analysis.
Vote for Your Favourite British Economists
 1 
John Maynard Keynes
(One of the Most Influential Economists of the 20th Century Whose Ideas Greatly Influenced Economic Policies of Governments)
John Maynard Keynes
12
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.

 2 
John Stuart Mill
(The Most Influential English-Speaking Philosopher of the Nineteenth Century)
John Stuart Mill
5
Birthdate: May 20, 1806
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pentonville, London, England
Died: May 7, 1873
Nineteenth-century philosopher John Stuart Mill is best remembered for his work On Liberty, which spoke of personal freedom and "the harm principle.” His The Subjection of Women was one of the first works written by a male author that promoted women's rights. He supported Jeremy Bentham's ethical utilitarianism.
 3 
Friedrich von Hayek
(Austrian–British Economist, Philosopher and Winner of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences)
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.

 4 
Thomas Robert Malthus
(Political Economist)
Thomas Robert Malthus
9
Birthdate: February 13, 1766
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Surrey, England
Died: December 23, 1834

Thomas Robert Malthus was an English economist and demographer, who viewed poverty as man’s unavoidable destiny. Author of An Essay on the Principle of Population; he believed that increase in national food production results in feeling of well-being, leading to population growth, which in turn results in poverty. Commonly referred as Malthusianism, it made immediate impact on British social policy.

 5 
Alfred Marshall
(Economist)
Alfred Marshall
3
Birthdate: July 26, 1842
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bermondsey
Died: July 13, 1924

One of the co-founders of the English neoclassical school of economics, 19th-century economist Alfred Marshall is best remembered for his path-breaking book Principles of Economics. His studies on topics such as marginal utility, consumer’s surplus, and the elasticity of demand, enriched the field of economics for years to come.

 6 
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.

 7 
Ed Balls
(Political Leader)
Ed Balls
4
Birthdate: February 25, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Norwich, United Kingdom
 8 
Sir Arthur Lewis
(Economist)
Sir Arthur Lewis
5
Birthdate: January 23, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Castries, Saint Lucia
Died: June 15, 1991
 9 
David Ricardo
(Economist)
David Ricardo
4
Birthdate: April 18, 1772
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: September 11, 1823
One of the greatest classical economists ever, David Ricardo had started working with his stockbroker father at age 14. His laissez-faire policies revolutionized 19th-century economics and its various concepts, such as the distribution theory and the wage theory. He had also been an MP from Portarlington.
 10 
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.

 11 
Alex Salmond
(Scottish Politician and Economist Who Served as First Minister of Scotland from 2007 to 2014)
Alex Salmond
4
Birthdate: December 31, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Linlithgow
 12 
Niall Ferguson
(Writer, Economic historian, Historian, University teacher, Journalist, Economist)
Niall Ferguson
5
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.

 13 
Joan Robinson
(British Economist Known for Her Wide-Ranging Contributions to Economic Theory)
Joan Robinson
3
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.

 14 
William Beveridge
(British Economist and Liberal Politician)
William Beveridge
3
Birthdate: March 5, 1879
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rangpur, Bangladesh
Died: March 16, 1963

Born to a British civil servant in British India, William Beveridge was educated at Oxford. While he initially excelled in math and classics, he later studied law. A leading economist, he created the Beveridge Report, which formulated the welfare state policies in the U.K. after World War II.

 15 
John R Hicks
(One of the Most Influential Economists of the 20th Century and 1972 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics)
John R Hicks
3
Birthdate: April 8, 1904
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Warwick, England, United Kingdom
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.

 16 
Emma Georgina Rothschild
(Economic historian, Historian, University teacher, Economist)
Emma Georgina Rothschild
4
Birthdate: May 16, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London

Apart from being one of the heiresses of the affluent Rothschild banking family, Emma Georgina Rothschild is also a famous economic historian, a Harvard professor, and a former United Nations Foundation board member. She has also worked at MIT and Cambridge and is married to Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen.

 17 
Evan Davis
(Economist, Journalist and Presenter of the BBC Show 'Dragons' Den')
Evan Davis
4
Birthdate: April 8, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Malvern, Worcestershire, England

Renowned economist and award-winning BBC journalist Evan Davis is best known for presenting shows such as Dragons' Den, Newsnight, and Today. The Oxford and Harvard alumnus has also been BBC's economics editor and has co-authored books such as Public Spending. He is openly gay and is married to a French architect.

 18 
Angus Deaton
(British Economist, Academic and Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences)
Angus Deaton
3
Birthdate: October 19, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland

British-American economist and Nobel laureate Angus Deaton revolutionized applied economics with his work on consumption, savings, poverty, and development. Apart from teaching at Princeton, he has penned multiple award-winning papers and given rise to concepts such as the Deaton Paradox. He was also the first to receive the Frisch Medal.

 19 
Michael Polanyi
(British Polymath Who Made Important Theoretical Contributions to Physical Chemistry, Economics, and Philosophy)
Michael Polanyi
3
Birthdate: March 11, 1891
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: February 22, 1976

Hungarian-British polymath Michael Polanyi contributed to a wide range of subjects, such as chemistry, philosophy, and economics, and also had a medical diploma. He is best remembered for his research on the adsorption of gases but moved away from chemistry after fleeing to England ro escape the Nazi regime.

 20 
Frank P. Ramsey
(Mathematician, Philosopher, Economist)
Frank P. Ramsey
3
Birthdate: February 22, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cambridge
Died: January 19, 1930

British philosopher and mathematician Frank P. Ramsey was the son of a famed mathematician and later laid down the Ramsey theory of mathematical logic. The Cambridge alumnus also translated Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus but died at age 26, probably due to a liver infection he contracted while swimming.

 21 
Nathaniel Philip Rothschild
(Financier, Economist and Banker)
Nathaniel Philip Rothschild
1
Birthdate: July 12, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
 22 
William Stanley Jevons
(British Economist and Philosopher Who Foreshadowed Several Developments of the 20th Century)
William Stanley Jevons
3
Birthdate: September 1, 1835
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died: August 13, 1882

A pioneer of the mathematical method in economics, William Stanley Jevons was the son of an iron merchant and economic enthusiast. Remembered for his studies on marginal utility and supply/demand, he penned the iconic work A General Mathematical Theory of Political Economy and also wrote on Britain’s depleting coal supplies.

 23 
E. F. Schumacher
(Economist, Philosopher, Statistician)
E. F. Schumacher
3
Birthdate: August 16, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bonn
Died: September 4, 1977

German-born British economist E. F. Schumacher was one of the significant figures behind the formation of Britain’s post-World War II welfare state plans. His ground-breaking book Small Is Beautiful explained how capitalism was detrimental to culture. He also developed the concept of intermediate technology.

 24 
Lionel Robbins
(British Economist Known for His Work 'An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science')
Lionel Robbins
3
Birthdate: November 22, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sipson, Middlesex, England
Died: May 15, 1984

A leading free-market and neoclassical economist, Lionel Charles Robbins, or Baron Robbins, was known for his association with the London School of Economics. The son of a farmer, he trained to fight at World War I but went back home wounded. He also laid down his own definition of economics.

 25 
Mervyn King
(British Economist Who Served as Governor of the Bank of England)
Mervyn King
1
Birthdate: March 30, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire, England

British economist Mervyn King, Member of the House of Lords Lord Temporal, serves as School Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and as Chairman of the Philharmonia. He taught at the University of Birmingham, Harvard and MIT, and served the Bank of England as a non-executive director, chief economist, deputy governor and lastly as Governor.  

 26 
Nicholas Barbon
(British Economist, Financial Speculator and One of the First Proponents of the Free Market)
Nicholas Barbon
3
Birthdate: 1640 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 1698 AD

The son of a preacher, economist Nicholas Barbon actively participated in reconstructing London following the Great Fire of 1666 and then launched his own insurance company, pioneering fire insurance. As an economist, he penned significant works on the free market and division of labor. He was also a qualified doctor.

 27 
Abhisit Vejjajiva
(Economist, Politician, University teacher)
Abhisit Vejjajiva
3
Birthdate: August 3, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne

Born to Thai-Chinese medical professors in England, academic and politician Abhisit Vejjajiva was educated at the elite institutes Eton and Oxford. He later joined Thailand’s Democrat Party and became famous for his policies such as free education. In 2008, he became Thailand’s youngest prime minister in over 50 years.

 28 
Arvind Panagariya
3
Birthdate: September 30, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: India

Padma Bhushan-winning Indian-American economist and Columbia University professor Arvind Panagariya is known for his iconic books such as India: The Emerging Giant and Why Growth Matters. The Princeton alumnus has worked at the IMF and UNCTAD and been the Asian Development Bank’s chief economist and the NITI Aayog’s first vice chairman.

 29 
Beatrice Webb
(British Sociologist, Economist, Socialist, Labour Historian and Social Reformer)
Beatrice Webb
0
Birthdate: January 22, 1858
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gloucestershire, England
Died: April 30, 1943

Sociologist Beatrice Webb is best remembered for coining the term collective bargaining. Along with her husband, Sidney Webb, whom she met at the Fabian Society, and others, Beatrice co-founded the London School of Economics. In spite of her lack of formal education, she was a prominent educator and an avid diarist.

 30 
Harold Laski
(British Political Theorist, Economist and Most Influential Spokesmen for Marxism in the Interwar Years)
Harold Laski
3
Birthdate: June 30, 1893
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: March 24, 1950

Political scientist and Labour Party member Harold Laski later deviated to Communism. Born to a cotton merchant, he studied at Oxford and then taught at Harvard. Remembered for his works such as A Grammar of Politics and Authority in the Modern State, he was also a Zionism supporter.

 31 
Christopher A. Pissarides
(Economist, University teacher)
Christopher A. Pissarides
2
Birthdate: February 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nicosia

Nobel Prize-winning British-Cypriot economist Christopher A. Pissarides is best known for his work on the frictions in search markets. He also contributed to the development of the concept of matching functions. He penned the iconic book Equilibrium Unemployment Theory and was also knighted for his achievements.

 32 
Arthur Cecil Pigou
(British Economist Best Known for His Work in Welfare Economics)
Arthur Cecil Pigou
2
Birthdate: November 18, 1877
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ryde, Isle of Wight, England
Died: March 7, 1959

One of Alfred Marshall’s favorite students, Arthur Cecil Pigou was initially a history scholar at King's College but later deviated to economics. One of the most significant figures of neoclassical economics, he specialized in welfare economics and penned pathbreaking works such as The Economics of Welfare.

 33 
Oliver Hart
(Economist)
Oliver Hart
3
Birthdate: October 9, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

British-American economist and Harvard professor Oliver Hart was born to a medical researcher father and a gynecologist mother. The Cambridge and Princeton alumnus later won a Nobel Prize with Bengt Holmström for their research on contract theory. He has also taught at MIT and LSE.

 34 
William Whewell
(Economist, Physicist, Historian, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Mathematician)
William Whewell
3
Birthdate: May 24, 1794
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lancaster
Died: March 6, 1866

William Whewell was an English polymath, scientist, philosopher, theologian, and historian of science. He worked in a wide range of fields, publishing works in the disciplines of physics, mechanics, geology, economics, and astronomy. He also wrote poetry, sermons, and theological tracts. He is credited with coining the terms linguistics, physicist, consilience, scientist, catastrophism, and uniformitarianism.

 35 
Tim Harford
(economist, journalist)
Tim Harford
3
Birthdate: September 27, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: England

Journalist and economist Tim Harford has penned bestsellers such as The Undercover Economist, which is also the title of his popular Financial Times column. A TED speaker, he also presented the BBC radio series More or Less and is the only journalist to be a Royal Statistical Society honorary fellow.

 36 
Francis Ysidro Edgeworth
(Economist, Statistician, Lawyer, Mathematician)
Francis Ysidro Edgeworth
2
Birthdate: February 8, 1845
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: County Longford
Died: February 13, 1926

Francis Ysidro Edgeworth was an Anglo-Irish economist and statistician, known for his significant contributions to the methods of statistics. An autodidact in mathematics and economics, he imaginatively applied mathematics to the fields of economics and statistics, writing several books, including Mathematical Psychics, presenting new ideas on various topics like on the generalized utility function, the indifference curve etc.  .

 37 
William Playfair
(Economist, Mathematician, Engineer, Statistician)
William Playfair
2
Birthdate: September 22, 1759
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dundee
Died: February 11, 1823

Scottish engineer and political economist William Playfair is best-remembered as the inventor of statistical graphs and secret agent for Great Britain during its war with France. He published the first data graphs in his book The Commercial and Political Atlas. He used line, area and bar charts to represent the economy of 18th Century England and introduced the pie chart.

 38 
William Petty
(British Economist, Philosopher and Physician Known for His Methods of Political Arithmetic')
William Petty
2
Birthdate: May 26, 1623
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Romsey, Hampshire, England
Died: December 16, 1687

Initially a physician and anatomy professor, William Petty also taught music. However, he later established himself as a noted economist and became famous for his works such as Treatise of Taxes and Contributions. He was a surveyor under Oliver Cromwell and was a pioneer of political arithmetic.

 39 
Henry Sidgwick
(British Philosopher and Economist Best Known in Philosophy for His Utilitarian Treatise 'The Methods of Ethics')
Henry Sidgwick
2
Birthdate: May 31, 1838
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Skipton, Yorkshire, England
Died: August 28, 1900

An influential English ethical philosopher and economist of the Victorian era, Henry Sidgwick is perhaps best known for his utilitarian treatise The Methods of Ethics. He promoted higher education of women and co-founded Newnham College. He remained a member of the Metaphysical Society and co-founded and served as first president of the Society for Psychical Research.

 40 
Martin Wolf
(journalist, economist, university teacher)
Martin Wolf
2
Birthdate: March 16, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London

British journalist Martin Harry Wolf presently works with the Financial Times as a associate editor and chief economics commentator. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2000 in recognition to his services to financial journalism.  

 41 
Antony C. Sutton
(Economist, Engineer, Historian, University teacher)
Antony C. Sutton
2
Birthdate: February 14, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London
Died: June 17, 2002

British-American researcher, historian, economist, writer and professor Antony Cyril Sutton served as a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution for War, Revolution and Peace and as a professor of economics at California State University, Los Angeles. He authored 25 books and is best-known for his book America's Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull and Bones.

 42 
Howard Davies
(economist)
Howard Davies
2
Birthdate: February 12, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: England, United Kingdom

British economist and author Howard Davies, who presently serve as chairman of NatWest Group and Professor at Paris School of International Affairs, served as the first chairman of Financial Services Authority. He also served as director of the London School of Economics and chairman of Phoenix Group and UK Airports Commission. He became chairman of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group in 2015.

 43 
Tony Atkinson
(Economist)
Tony Atkinson
2
Birthdate: September 4, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Caerleon, Wales
Died: January 1, 2017
 44 
Angus Maddison
(Economist, University teacher)
Angus Maddison
2
Birthdate: December 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne
Died: April 24, 2010

British economist Angus Maddison specialised in quantitative macroeconomic history and is noted for documenting economic performances of major countries across continents. He served as the Head of OEEC Economics Division and as Assistant Director at the Economic Development Department of OECD. He authored several books on historical economic analysis, most notably The World Economy: Historical Statistics.

 45 
James Wilson
(Businessman)
James Wilson
2
Birthdate: June 3, 1805
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Died: August 11, 1860

Born to a hat manufacturer, James Wilson initially wished to study law but later joined his father’s business. Over the years, he established what is now the Standard Chartered Bank. Sent to Kolkata by Queen Victoria to introduce tax reforms, he introduced paper currency in the country, but died of dysentery.

 46 
James Mirrlees
(Economist)
James Mirrlees
2
Birthdate: July 5, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Minnigaff, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland
Died: August 29, 2018

Scottish economist and Nobel laureate James Mirrlees is best remembered for his research on economic incentives in situations with incomplete information. Educated at Cambridge, he later taught at his alma and other prestigious institutes such as MIT and Oxford. He was knighted for his achievements, too.

 47 
Arnold Toynbee
(Economist)
Arnold Toynbee
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1852
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London
Died: March 9, 1883

The son of a surgeon, economist Arnold Toynbee studied at Balliol College and later taught there, too. He was a prominent social reformer who spoke for the working class and supported trade unions. Unfortunately, he died of exhaustion and breakdown after being overworked. Toynbee Hall was named after him.

 48 
Miatta Fahnbulleh
0
Birthdate: November 19, 1979
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Liberia
 49 
Sidney Webb, 1st Baron Passfield
(British Socialist, Economist, Reformer and Co-Founder of 'The London School of Economics')
Sidney Webb, 1st Baron Passfield
2
Birthdate: July 13, 1859
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 13, 1947

Born to a lower-middle-class family, economist Sidney Webb, 1st Baron Passfield had quit school before 16 but later attended evening classes to clear both the civil service and bar exams. He and his wife, Beatrice Webb, were both part of the Fabian Society and co-founded the London School of Economics.

 50 
John Neville Keynes
1
Birthdate: August 31, 1852
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Salisbury, United Kingdom
Died: November 15, 1949

Educated at Cambridge, legendary British economist and philosopher John Neville Keynes later taught moral science there and became its registrar. He revolutionized the field of economics by merging both the inductive and deductive approaches to the subject. His son, John Maynard Keynes, too, was a prominent economist.