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Note: These rankings dynamically change as our AI learns new things and new publications and citations are made. Academics are actively researching and publishing new insights, leaving our measure of more recent influence subject to continual adjustments. While we delay real-time changes for quality assurance reasons, be not surprised as you see our rankings change over time.

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List of the most influential people in Economics, for the years 1200 – 2020

Adam Smith
# 1
Adam Smith

1723 - 1790 (67 years)

#13 person's overall influence

Adam Smith was a British economist, philosopher, and author born in Scotland, as well as a moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy, and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment,. Smith wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations . The latter, often abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. In his work, Adam Smith introduced his theory of absolute advantage.

Karl Marx
# 2
Karl Marx

1818 - 1883 (65 years)

#6 person's overall influence

Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. Born in Trier, Germany, Marx studied law and philosophy at university. He married Jenny von Westphalen in 1843. Due to his political publications, Marx became stateless and lived in exile with his wife and children in London for decades, where he continued to develop his thought in collaboration with German thinker Friedrich Engels and publish his writings, researching in the reading room of the British Museum. His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet

Milton Friedman
# 3
Milton Friedman

1912 - 2006 (94 years)

#51 person's overall influence

Milton Friedman was an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy. With George Stigler and others, Friedman was among the intellectual leaders of the Chicago school of economics, a neoclassical school of economic thought associated with the work of the faculty at the University of Chicago that rejected Keynesianism in favor of monetarism until the mid-1970s, when it turned to new classical macroeconomics heavily based on the concept of ration

Paul Samuelson
# 4
Paul Samuelson

1915 - 2009 (94 years)

#231 person's overall influence

Paul Anthony Samuelson was an American economist. The first American to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the Swedish Royal Academies stated, when awarding the prize in 1970, that he "has done more than any other contemporary economist to raise the level of scientific analysis in economic theory". The New York Times considered him to be the "foremost academic economist of the 20th century".

Friedrich Hayek
# 5
Friedrich Hayek

1899 - 1992 (93 years)

#124 person's overall influence

Friedrich August von Hayek , often referred to by his initials F. A. Hayek, was an Austrian-British economist and philosopher who is best known for his defence of classical liberalism. Hayek shared the 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Gunnar Myrdal for his "pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and [...] penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena". His account of how changing prices communicate information that helps individuals co-ordinate their plans is widely regarded as an important achievement...

Alfred Marshall
# 6
Alfred Marshall

1842 - 1924 (82 years)

#226 person's overall influence

Alfred Marshall was a British economist, who was one of the most influential economists of his time. His book, Principles of Economics , was the dominant economic textbook in England for many years. It brings the ideas of supply and demand, marginal utility, and costs of production into a coherent whole. He is known as one of the founders of neoclassical economics. Although Marshall took economics to a more mathematically rigorous level, he did not want mathematics to overshadow economics and thus make economics irrelevant to the layman.

David Ricardo
# 7
David Ricardo

1772 - 1823 (51 years)

#206 person's overall influence

David Ricardo was a British political economist, one of the most influential of the classical economists along with Thomas Malthus, Adam Smith and James Mill.

Paul Krugman
# 8
Paul Krugman

1953 - Present (68 years)

#185 person's overall influence

Paul Krugman is one of the most highly respected and well-known economists in the world. He is a professor emeritus of the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, a distinguished professor of the Graduate Center Economics Ph.D program and scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center, both at City University of New York.

John Stuart Mill
# 9
John Stuart Mill

1806 - 1873 (67 years)

#35 person's overall influence

John Stuart Mill , usually cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, political economist, and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of classical liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory, and political economy. Dubbed "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century", he conceived of liberty as justifying the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control.

Ludwig von Mises
# 10
Ludwig von Mises

1881 - 1973 (92 years)

#241 person's overall influence

Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian School economist, historian, logician and sociologist. Mises wrote and lectured extensively on the societal contributions of classical liberalism. He is best known for his work on praxeology, a study of human choice and action.

Joseph E. Stiglitz
# 11
Joseph E. Stiglitz

1943 - Present (78 years)

#384 person's overall influence

Joseph Eugene Stiglitz is a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner, public policy analyst, and professor at Columbia University. He earned his B.A. in Amherst College and his Ph.D in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Stiglitz is another of the most highly esteemed economists in the world, having been awarded a Nobel Prize in 2001, for his work analyzing markets with asymmetric information.

Thorstein Veblen
# 12
Thorstein Veblen

1857 - 1929 (72 years)

#263 person's overall influence

Thorstein Bunde Veblen was an American economist and sociologist, who during his lifetime emerged as a well-known critic of capitalism.

Joan Robinson
# 13
Joan Robinson

1903 - 1983 (80 years)

#678 person's overall influence

Joan Violet Robinson was a British economist well known for her wide-ranging contributions to economic theory. She was a central figure in what became known as post-Keynesian economics.

Carl Menger
# 14
Carl Menger

1840 - 1921 (81 years)

#448 person's overall influence

Carl Menger was an Austrian economist and the founder of the Austrian School of economics. Menger contributed to the development of the theory of marginalism , which rejected the cost-of-production theories of value, such as were developed by the classical economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo. As a departure from such, he would go on to call his resultant perspective, the "Subjective Theory of Value".

John Richard Hicks
# 15
John Richard Hicks

1904 - 1989 (85 years)

#886 person's overall influence

Sir John Hicks was a British economist. He is considered one of the most important and influential economists of the twentieth century. The most familiar of his many contributions in the field of economics were his statement of consumer demand theory in microeconomics, and the IS–LM model , which summarised a Keynesian view of macroeconomics. His book Value and Capital significantly extended general-equilibrium and value theory. The compensated demand function is named the Hicksian demand function in memory of him.

Amartya Sen
# 16
Amartya Sen

1933 - Present (88 years)

#359 person's overall influence

Amartya Sen is the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. He earned a B.A. in economics from the University of Calcutta and a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D from Trinity College in Cambridge.

Robert Solow
# 17
Robert Solow

1924 - Present (97 years)

#776 person's overall influence

Robert Solow is Emeritus Institute Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Solow earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D from Harvard University. In the middle of his studies, from 1941-1945, Solow served in the U.S. Army, deployed overseas during World War II.

Kenneth Arrow
# 18
Kenneth Arrow

1921 - 2017 (96 years)

#690 person's overall influence

Kenneth Joseph Arrow was an American economist, mathematician, writer, and political theorist. He was the joint winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with John Hicks in 1972.

Ronald Coase
# 19
Ronald Coase

1910 - 2013 (103 years)

#500 person's overall influence

Ronald Harry Coase was a British economist and author. He was the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School, where he arrived in 1964 and remained for the rest of his life. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1991.

Gary Becker
# 20
Gary Becker

1930 - 2014 (84 years)

#593 person's overall influence

Gary Stanley Becker was an American economist who received the 1992 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He was a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Chicago, and was a leader of the third generation of the Chicago school of economics.

William Stanley Jevons
# 21
William Stanley Jevons

1835 - 1882 (47 years)

#443 person's overall influence

William Stanley Jevons FRS was an English economist and logician.

Léon Walras
# 22
Léon Walras

1834 - 1910 (76 years)

#897 person's overall influence

Marie-Esprit-Léon Walras was a French mathematical economist and Georgist. He formulated the marginal theory of value and pioneered the development of general equilibrium theory.

Murray Rothbard
# 23
Murray Rothbard

1926 - 1995 (69 years)

#557 person's overall influence

Murray Newton Rothbard was an American heterodox economist of the Austrian School, economic historian and political theorist. Rothbard was the founder and leading theoretician of anarcho-capitalism, a staunch advocate of historical revisionism and a central figure in the 20th-century American libertarian movement. He wrote over twenty books on political theory, revisionist history, economics, and other subjects.

John von Neumann
# 24
John von Neumann

1903 - 1957 (54 years)

#70 person's overall influence

John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, engineer and polymath. Von Neumann was generally regarded as the foremost mathematician of his time and said to be "the last representative of the great mathematicians"; he integrated pure and applied sciences.

Piero Sraffa
# 25
Piero Sraffa

1898 - 1983 (85 years)

#1050 person's overall influence

Piero Sraffa was an influential Italian economist who served as lecturer of economics at the University of Cambridge. His book Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities is taken as founding the neo-Ricardian school of economics.

Friedrich Engels
# 26
Friedrich Engels

1820 - 1895 (75 years)

#105 person's overall influence

Friedrich Engels , sometimes anglicised as Frederick Engels , was a German philosopher, historian, political scientist and revolutionary socialist. He was also a businessman, journalist and political activist, whose father was an owner of large textile factories in Salford and Barmen, Prussia .

Herman Daly
# 27
Herman Daly

1938 - Present (83 years)

#871 person's overall influence

Herman Daly is emeritus professor of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. He earned his Ph.D from Vanderbilt University. Daly served as Senior Economist for the World Bank’s Environment Department. With collaborator John B. Cobb, he designed the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, which they recommended as a better metric of economic health or growth than Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which fails to recognize key markers of economic health.

# 28
Frank Knight

1885 - 1972 (87 years)

#752 person's overall influence

Frank Hyneman Knight was an American economist who spent most of his career at the University of Chicago, where he became one of the founders of the Chicago school. Nobel laureates Milton Friedman, George Stigler and James M. Buchanan were all students of Knight at Chicago. Ronald Coase said that Knight, without teaching him, was a major influence on his thinking. F.A. Hayek considered Knight to be one of the major figures in preserving and promoting classical liberal thought in the twentieth century. Paul Samuelson named Knight as one of the several "American saints in economics" born afte...

David Hume
# 29
David Hume

1711 - 1776 (65 years)

#32 person's overall influence

David Hume was a Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, librarian and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism. Beginning with A Treatise of Human Nature , Hume strove to create a naturalistic science of man that examined the psychological basis of human nature. Hume argued against the existence of innate ideas, positing that all human knowledge derives solely from experience. This places him with Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and George Berkeley, as a British Empiricist.

Ibn Khaldun
# 30
Ibn Khaldun

1332 - 1406 (74 years)

#121 person's overall influence

Ibn Khaldun was an Arab scholar of Islam, social scientist and historian who has been described as the father of the modern disciplines of historiography, sociology, economics, and demography. Niccolò Machiavelli of the Renaissance and the 19th-century European scholars widely acknowledged the significance of his works and considered Ibn Khaldun to be one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages.

George Stigler
# 31
George Stigler

1911 - 1991 (80 years)

#1023 person's overall influence

George Joseph Stigler was an American economist, the 1982 laureate in Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and a key leader of the Chicago School of Economics.

George Akerlof
# 32
George Akerlof

1940 - Present (81 years)

#1440 person's overall influence

George Akerlof is a university professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned a B.A. degree from Yale University and a Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Vilfredo Pareto
# 33
Vilfredo Pareto

1848 - 1923 (75 years)

#425 person's overall influence

Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto was an Italian engineer, sociologist, economist, political scientist, and philosopher. He made several important contributions to economics, particularly in the study of income distribution and in the analysis of individuals' choices. He was also responsible for popularising the use of the term "elite" in social analysis.

Henry George
# 34
Henry George

1839 - 1897 (58 years)

#697 person's overall influence

Henry George was an American political economist and journalist. His writing was immensely popular in the 19th century America, and sparked several reform movements of the Progressive Era. He inspired the economic philosophy known as Georgism, the belief that people should own the value they produce themselves, but that the economic value derived from land should belong equally to all members of society. He argued that a single tax on land would create a more productive, more just society.

Thomas Robert Malthus
# 35
Thomas Robert Malthus

1766 - 1834 (68 years)

#417 person's overall influence

Thomas Robert Malthus was an English cleric, scholar and influential economist in the fields of political economy and demography.

Benjamin Tucker
# 36
Benjamin Tucker

1854 - 1939 (85 years)

#5385 person's overall influence

Benjamin Ricketson Tucker was an American anarchist and socialist.

# 37
Oskar Morgenstern

1902 - 1977 (75 years)

#905 person's overall influence

Oskar Morgenstern was an economist. In collaboration with mathematician John von Neumann, he founded the mathematical field of game theory and its application to economics .

Jean-Baptiste Say
# 38
Jean-Baptiste Say

1767 - 1832 (65 years)

#990 person's overall influence

Jean-Baptiste Say was a liberal French economist and businessman who argued in favor of competition, free trade and lifting restraints on business. He is best known for Say's law—also known as the law of markets—which he popularized. Scholars disagree on the surprisingly subtle question of whether it was Say who first stated what is now called Say's law. Moreover, he was one of the first economists to study entrepreneurship and conceptualized entrepreneurs as organizers and leaders of the economy.

James M. Buchanan
# 39
James M. Buchanan

1919 - 2013 (94 years)

#1613 person's overall influence

James McGill Buchanan Jr. was an American economist known for his work on public choice theory , for which he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1986. Buchanan's work initiated research on how politicians' and bureaucrats' self-interest, utility maximization, and other non-wealth-maximizing considerations affect their decision-making. He was a member of the Board of Advisors of The Independent Institute as well as of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute, and professor at George Maso

Wassily Leontief
# 40
Wassily Leontief

1906 - 1999 (93 years)

#1187 person's overall influence

Wassily Wassilyevich Leontief , was a Russian-American economist known for his research on input-output analysis and how changes in one economic sector may affect other sectors.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
# 41
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

1809 - 1865 (56 years)

#1404 person's overall influence

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French socialist, politician, philosopher, economist and the founder of mutualist philosophy. He was the first person to declare himself an anarchist, using that term and is widely regarded as one of anarchism's most influential theorists. Proudhon is considered by many to be the "father of anarchism". Proudhon became a member of the French Parliament after the Revolution of 1848, whereafter he referred to himself as a federalist. Proudhon described the liberty he pursued as "the synthesis of communism and property". Some consider his mutualism to be part of indiv...

Daniel Kahneman
# 42
Daniel Kahneman

1934 - Present (87 years)

#729 person's overall influence

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli-American psychologist and economist who is currently the Eugene Higgins Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs Emeritus for the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He earned a B.S. in psychology from Hebrew University and an M.A. and Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley. Kahneman is world-famous for his groundbreaking work on the psychology of judgement and decision making. His studies, along with Amos Tversky, developed into prospect theory which examines behavioral economics and finance and how huma

Irving Fisher
# 43
Irving Fisher

1867 - 1947 (80 years)

#1188 person's overall influence

Irving Fisher was an American economist, statistician, inventor, eugenicist and progressive social campaigner. He was one of the earliest American neoclassical economists, though his later work on debt deflation has been embraced by the post-Keynesian school. Joseph Schumpeter described him as "the greatest economist the United States has ever produced", an assessment later repeated by James Tobin and Milton Friedman.

Hyman Minsky
# 44
Hyman Minsky

1919 - 1996 (77 years)

#2088 person's overall influence

Hyman Philip Minsky was an American economist, a professor of economics at Washington University in St. Louis, and a distinguished scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His research attempted to provide an understanding and explanation of the characteristics of financial crises, which he attributed to swings in a potentially fragile financial system. Minsky is sometimes described as a post-Keynesian economist because, in the Keynesian tradition, he supported some government intervention in financial markets, opposed some of the financial deregulation policies popular in the...

Arthur Cecil Pigou
# 45
Arthur Cecil Pigou

1877 - 1959 (82 years)

#2558 person's overall influence

Arthur Cecil Pigou was an English economist. As a teacher and builder of the School of Economics at the University of Cambridge, he trained and influenced many Cambridge economists who went on to take chairs of economics around the world. His work covered various fields of economics, particularly welfare economics, but also included Business cycle theory, unemployment, public finance, index numbers, and measurement of national output. His reputation was affected adversely by influential economic writers who used his work as the basis on which to define their own opposing views. He reluctantly...

Gérard Debreu
# 46
Gérard Debreu

1921 - 2004 (83 years)

#2121 person's overall influence

Gérard Debreu was a French-born economist and mathematician. Best known as a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he began work in 1962, he won the 1983 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

John Kenneth Galbraith
# 47
John Kenneth Galbraith

1908 - 2006 (98 years)

#2640 person's overall influence

John Kenneth Galbraith , also known as Ken Galbraith, was a Canadian-American economist, diplomat, public official and intellectual. A leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism, his books on economic topics were bestsellers from the 1950s through the 2000s. As an economist, he leaned toward post-Keynesian economics from an institutionalist perspective.

François Quesnay
# 48
François Quesnay

1694 - 1774 (80 years)

#2237 person's overall influence

François Quesnay was a French economist and physician of the Physiocratic school. He is known for publishing the "Tableau économique" in 1758, which provided the foundations of the ideas of the Physiocrats. This was perhaps the first work attempting to describe the workings of the economy in an analytical way, and as such can be viewed as one of the first important contributions to economic thought. His Le Despotisme de la Chine, written in 1767, describes Chinese politics and society, and his own political support for constitutional despotism.

Knut Wicksell
# 49
Knut Wicksell

1851 - 1926 (75 years)

#1999 person's overall influence

Johan Gustaf Knut Wicksell was a leading Swedish economist of the Stockholm school. His economic contributions would influence both the Keynesian and Austrian schools of economic thought. He was married to the noted feminist Anna Bugge.

Thomas Piketty
# 50
Thomas Piketty

1971 - Present (50 years)

#1326 person's overall influence

Thomas Piketty is Professor at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and at the Paris School of Economics. He earned his Ph.D from the London School of Economics – at the age of 22, even winning an award from the French Economics Association for his thesis.