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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.

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List of the most influential people in Economics, for the years 1970 – 2020

Paul Krugman
# 1
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.

Milton Friedman
# 2
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

Joseph E. Stiglitz
# 3
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.

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".

Amartya Sen
# 5
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.

Friedrich Hayek
# 6
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...

Gary Becker
# 7
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.

Herman Daly
# 8
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.

Robert Solow
# 9
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.

George Akerlof
# 10
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.

Murray Rothbard
# 11
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.

Kenneth Arrow
# 12
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.

Thomas Piketty
# 13
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.

Daniel Kahneman
# 14
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

Ronald Coase
# 15
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.

Clive Spash
# 16
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.

Jeffrey Sachs
# 17
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.

Nancy Folbre
# 18
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.

Esther Duflo
# 19
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.

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

Robert Costanza
# 21
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 Thaler
# 22
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.

Eric Maskin
# 23
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.

Martin Wolf
# 24
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.

Abhijit Banerjee
# 25
Abhijit Banerjee

1961 - Present (60 years)

#3317 person's overall influence

Abhijit Banerjee is the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned his B.Sc from the University of Calcutta, his M.A. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and his Ph.D from Harvard University. He is a co-founder of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, with his wife Esther Duflo (also appearing on this list). Together, they are only the sixth married couple to be awarded a Nobel Prize, which they shared with collaborator Michael Kremer in 2019.

Ailsa McKay
# 26
Ailsa McKay

1963 - 2014 (51 years)

#5435 person's overall influence

Ailsa McKay was a Scottish economist, government policy adviser, a leading feminist economist and Professor of Economics at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Greg Mankiw
# 27
Greg Mankiw

1958 - Present (63 years)

#3845 person's overall influence

Greg Mankiw is the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard University and a well-known macroeconomist of the New Keynesian school. He earned a B.A. in economics from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He studied law briefly at Harvard Law School before returning to become an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University.

Julie Nelson
# 28
Julie Nelson

1956 - Present (65 years)

#4299 person's overall influence

Julie Nelson is a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She earned her B.A. from St. Olaf College, and an M.A. and Ph.D in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nelson is one of the most highly regarded feminist economists and one of the founders of the field.

Jean Tirole
# 29
Jean Tirole

1953 - Present (68 years)

#2757 person's overall influence

Jean Tirole is a French professor of economics. He focuses on industrial organization, game theory, banking and finance, and economics and psychology. In 2014 he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his analysis of market power and regulation.

John Quiggin
# 30
John Quiggin

1956 - Present (65 years)

#3647 person's overall influence

John Quiggin is an Australian economist, a Professor at the University of Queensland. He was formerly an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Federation Fellow and a Member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government.

Joan Robinson
# 31
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.

# 32
Kevin Carson

1963 - Present (58 years)

#6921 person's overall influence

Kevin Carson is an American social theorist, self-proclaimed economist and anarchist who has identified at various times as a mutualist, individualist anarchist, left-wing market anarchist and anarchist without adjectives. He works as a Senior Fellow and Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory at the Center for a Stateless Society. Carson's Studies in Mutualist Political Economy aims to revive interest in mutualism in an effort to synthesize Austrian School economics with the labor theory of value by attempting to incorporate both subjectivism and time preference.

Richard Posner
# 33
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).

Arthur Laffer
# 34
Arthur Laffer

1940 - Present (81 years)

#3236 person's overall influence

Arthur Betz Laffer is an American economist and author who first gained prominence during the Reagan administration as a member of Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board . Laffer is best known for the Laffer curve, an illustration of the concept that there exists some tax rate between 0% and 100% that will result in maximum tax revenue for government. In certain circumstances, this would allow governments to cut taxes, and simultaneously increase revenue and economic growth.

Olivier Blanchard
# 35
Olivier Blanchard

1948 - Present (73 years)

#5200 person's overall influence

Olivier Jean Blanchard is a French economist and professor who is a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He was the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund from September 1, 2008 to September 8, 2015. Blanchard was appointed to the position under the tenure of Dominique Strauss-Kahn; he was succeeded by Maurice Obstfeld. He also is a Robert M. Solow Professor of Economics emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology . He is one of the most cited economists in the world, according to IDEAS/RePEc.

Vernon L. Smith
# 36
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.

Roger Myerson
# 37
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...

Amos Tversky
# 38
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.

Cass Sunstein
# 39
Cass Sunstein

1954 - Present (67 years)

#1225 person's overall influence

Cass Sunstein is Harvard Law School’s Robert Walmsley University Professor. He earned his B.A. and J.D. from Harvard University and is a scholar of constitutional law and behavioral economics.

Steve Keen
# 40
Steve Keen

1953 - Present (68 years)

#5675 person's overall influence

Steve Keen is Honorary Professor and Distinguished Research Fellow for the Institute for Strategy, Resilience and Security at University College London. Keen was formerly the Head of the School of Economics, History, and Politics and Professor of Economics at Kingston University. He earned a B.A. and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Sydney and a Diploma of Education from Sydney Teachers College. He then earned a Master of Commerce in economics and economic history and a Ph.D at the University of New South Wales.

George Soros
# 41
George Soros

1930 - Present (91 years)

#358 person's overall influence

George Soros, Hon is a Hungarian–American billionaire investor and philanthropist. , he had a net worth of $8.3 billion, having donated more than $32 billion to the Open Society Foundations.

Robert Mundell
# 42
Robert Mundell

1932 - Present (89 years)

#1164 person's overall influence

Robert Alexander Mundell, CC is a Canadian economist. Currently, he is a professor of economics at Columbia University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Eugene Fama
# 43
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.

Deirdre McCloskey
# 44
Deirdre McCloskey

1942 - Present (79 years)

#4146 person's overall influence

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey is the Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago . She is also adjunct professor of Philosophy and Classics there, and for five years was a visiting Professor of philosophy at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. Since October 2007 she has received six honorary doctoratess. In 2013, she received the Julian L. Simon Memorial Award from the Competitive Enterprise Institute for her work examining factors in history that led to advancement in human achievement and prosperity. Her main research interests i...

Walter Block
# 45
Walter Block

1941 - Present (80 years)

#4166 person's overall influence

Walter Edward Block is an American Austrian School economist and anarcho-capitalist theorist. He currently holds the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at the J. A. Butt School of Business at Loyola University New Orleans, and is a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. He is best known for his 1976 book Defending the Undefendable, which takes contrarian positions in defending acts which are illegal or disreputable but Block argues are actually victimless crimes or benefit the public.

Joan Martinez Alier
# 46
Joan Martinez Alier

1939 - Present (82 years)

#5963 person's overall influence

Joan Martinez Alier is a Spanish economist, Emeritus Professor of Economics and Economic History and researcher at ICTA at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Douglass North
# 47
Douglass North

1920 - 2015 (95 years)

#2933 person's overall influence

Douglass Cecil North was an American economist known for his work in economic history. He was the co-recipient of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. In the words of the Nobel Committee, North and Fogel "renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change."

Elinor Ostrom
# 48
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.

Piero Sraffa
# 49
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.

John Richard Hicks
# 50
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.