Search People Result

Who are the most influential people in world?

Identify leaders in your chosen discipline, research top professors in your area of study, and search for schools based on the luminaries who most inspire you!

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.

Methodology: How and Why We Rank by Influence …

Gender designations here are based off data sourced from Wikidata.

About our data on gender

List of the most influential people in Economics, for the years 1920 – 2020

Milton Friedman
# 1
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
# 2
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
# 3
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...

Paul Krugman
# 4
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.

Joseph E. Stiglitz
# 5
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.

Joan Robinson
# 6
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.

Amartya Sen
# 7
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
# 8
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
# 9
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.

John Richard Hicks
# 10
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.

Gary Becker
# 11
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.

Ludwig von Mises
# 12
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.

Ronald Coase
# 13
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.

Murray Rothbard
# 14
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
# 15
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.

Herman Daly
# 16
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.

Piero Sraffa
# 17
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.

George Akerlof
# 18
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.

George Stigler
# 19
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.

James M. Buchanan
# 20
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

# 21
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...

# 22
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 .

Daniel Kahneman
# 23
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

Wassily Leontief
# 24
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.

Hyman Minsky
# 25
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...

Gérard Debreu
# 26
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.

Thomas Piketty
# 27
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.

John Kenneth Galbraith
# 28
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.

Jeffrey Sachs
# 29
Jeffrey Sachs

1954 - Present (67 years)

#1247 person's overall influence

Jeffrey Sachs is the Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and professor of health policy and management for Columbia University’s School of Public Health. He completed his studies at Harvard University, earning a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D in economics.

Eugene Fama
# 30
Eugene Fama

1939 - Present (82 years)

#2042 person's overall influence

Eugene Francis "Gene" Fama is an American economist, best known for his empirical work on portfolio theory, asset pricing, and the efficient-market hypothesis.

Eric Maskin
# 31
Eric Maskin

1950 - Present (71 years)

#2369 person's overall influence

Eric Stark Maskin is an American economist and 2007 Nobel laureate recognized with Leonid Hurwicz and Roger Myerson "for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory". He is currently Adams University Professor and Professor of Economics and Mathematics at Harvard University.

Franco Modigliani
# 32
Franco Modigliani

1918 - 2003 (85 years)

#2187 person's overall influence

Franco Modigliani was an Italian-American economist and the recipient of the 1985 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. He was a professor at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Carnegie Mellon University, and MIT Sloan School of Management.

Robert Costanza
# 33
Robert Costanza

1950 - Present (71 years)

#2743 person's overall influence

Robert Costanza is an American/Australian ecological economist and Professor of Public Policy at the Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and a Full Member of the Club of Rome.

Richard Posner
# 34
Richard Posner

1939 - Present (82 years)

#311 person's overall influence

Richard Posner is a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School who served as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He earned his A.B. degree in English literature from Yale University (summa cum laude), and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School (magna cum laude and valedictorian).

# 35
Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen

1906 - 1994 (88 years)

#2162 person's overall influence

Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen was a Romanian mathematician, statistician and economist. He is best known today for his 1971 magnum opus The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, in which he argued that all natural resources are irreversibly degraded when put to use in economic activity. A progenitor and a paradigm founder in economics, Georgescu-Roegen's work was seminal in establishing ecological economics as an independent academic sub-discipline in economics.

Leonid Hurwicz
# 36
Leonid Hurwicz

1917 - 2008 (91 years)

#2425 person's overall influence

Leonid "Leo" Hurwicz was a Polish-American economist and mathematician, known for his work in game theory and mechanism design. He originated the concept of incentive compatibility, and showed how desired outcomes can be achieved by using incentive compatible mechanism design. Hurwicz shared the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work on mechanism design. Hurwicz was one of the oldest Nobel Laureates, having received the prize at the age of 90.

Richard Thaler
# 37
Richard Thaler

1945 - Present (76 years)

#2111 person's overall influence

Richard Thaler is the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He earned a B.A. from Case Western Reserve University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.

Nancy Folbre
# 38
Nancy Folbre

1952 - Present (69 years)

#3559 person's overall influence

Nancy Folbre is professor economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in Latin American studies. She earned her Ph.D in economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After graduating, she completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at Yale University’s Economic Growth Center.

Harold Hotelling
# 39
Harold Hotelling

1895 - 1973 (78 years)

#2938 person's overall influence

Harold Hotelling was an American mathematical statistician and an influential economic theorist, known for Hotelling's law, Hotelling's lemma, and Hotelling's rule in economics, as well as Hotelling's T-squared distribution in statistics. He also developed and named the principal component analysis method widely used in finance, statistics and computer science.

Clive Spash
# 40
Clive Spash

1962 - Present (59 years)

#4126 person's overall influence

Clive L. Spash is an ecological economist. He currently holds the Chair of Public Policy and Governance at Vienna University of Economics and Business, appointed in 2010. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the academic journal Environmental Values.

Martin Wolf
# 41
Martin Wolf

1946 - Present (75 years)

#3235 person's overall influence

Martin Harry Wolf, CBE is a British journalist who focuses on economics. He is the associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times.

James Tobin
# 42
James Tobin

1918 - 2002 (84 years)

#3180 person's overall influence

James Tobin was an American economist who served on the Council of Economic Advisers and consulted with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and taught at Harvard and Yale Universities. He developed the ideas of Keynesian economics, and advocated government intervention to stabilize output and avoid recessions. His academic work included pioneering contributions to the study of investment, monetary and fiscal policy and financial markets. He also proposed an econometric model for censored dependent variables, the well-known Tobit model.

Jan Tinbergen
# 43
Jan Tinbergen

1903 - 1994 (91 years)

#2226 person's overall influence

Jan Tinbergen was an important Dutch economist. He was awarded the first Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1969, which he shared with Ragnar Frisch for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential economists of the 20th century and one of the founding fathers of econometrics. It has been argued that the development of the first macroeconometric models, the solution of the identification problem, and the understanding of dynamic models are his three most important legacies to econometr

Amos Tversky
# 44
Amos Tversky

1937 - 1996 (59 years)

#2051 person's overall influence

Amos Nathan Tversky was an Israeli cognitive and mathematical psychologist, a student of cognitive science, a collaborator of Daniel Kahneman, and a key figure in the discovery of systematic human cognitive bias and handling of risk.

Esther Duflo
# 45
Esther Duflo

1972 - Present (49 years)

#2930 person's overall influence

Esther Duflo is Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned a B.A. from École normale supérieure in Paris, an M.A.S. from the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, and a Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Leonid Kantorovich
# 46
Leonid Kantorovich

1912 - 1986 (74 years)

#1756 person's overall influence

Leonid Vitaliyevich Kantorovich was a Soviet mathematician and economist, known for his theory and development of techniques for the optimal allocation of resources. He is regarded as the founder of linear programming. He was the winner of the Stalin Prize in 1949 and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1975.

Roger Myerson
# 47
Roger Myerson

1951 - Present (70 years)

#2737 person's overall influence

Roger Bruce Myerson is an American economist and professor at the University of Chicago. He holds the title of the David L. Pearson Distinguished Service Professor of Global Conflict Studies at The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts in the Harris School of Public Policy, the Griffin Department of Economics, and the College. Previously, he held the title The Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor of Economics. In 2007, he was the winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel with Leonid Hurwicz and Eric Maskin for "h...

Gordon Tullock
# 48
Gordon Tullock

1922 - 2014 (92 years)

#3737 person's overall influence

Gordon Tullock was an economist and professor of law and Economics at the George Mason University School of Law. He is best known for his work on public choice theory, the application of economic thinking to political issues. He was one of the founding figures in his field.

Vernon L. Smith
# 49
Vernon L. Smith

1927 - Present (94 years)

#2288 person's overall influence

Vernon Lomax Smith is an American economist and professor of business economics and law at Chapman University. He was formerly a professor of economics and law at George Mason University, and a board member of the Mercatus Center. He was also a founding board member of the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University.

Elinor Ostrom
# 50
Elinor Ostrom

1933 - 2012 (79 years)

#1419 person's overall influence

Elinor Claire "Lin" Ostrom was an American political economist whose work was associated with the New Institutional Economics and the resurgence of political economy. In 2009, she was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for her "analysis of economic governance, especially the commons", which she shared with Oliver E. Williamson. To date, she remains the first of only two women to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, the other being Esther Duflo.