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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 2000 – 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.

Joseph E. Stiglitz
# 2
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.

George Akerlof
# 3
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.

Amartya Sen
# 4
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.

Thomas Piketty
# 5
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.

Esther Duflo
# 6
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.

Jeffrey Sachs
# 7
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.

Gary Becker
# 8
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.

Martin Wolf
# 9
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
# 10
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.

Daniel Kahneman
# 11
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

Robert Solow
# 12
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.

Richard Thaler
# 13
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.

Herman Daly
# 14
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.

Cass Sunstein
# 15
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.

John Quiggin
# 16
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.

George Soros
# 17
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.

Milton Friedman
# 18
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
# 19
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".

Greg Mankiw
# 20
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.

Kenneth Arrow
# 21
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.

Alberto Alesina
# 22
Alberto Alesina

1957 - 2020 (63 years)

#7536 person's overall influence

Alberto Francesco Alesina was an Italian political economist. According to Lawrence Summers, he was one of the leading political economists of his generation, publishing much-cited books and articles in major economics and political science journals.

Michael Kremer
# 23
Michael Kremer

1964 - Present (57 years)

#7968 person's overall influence

Michael Kremer is a University Professor in Economics and the College and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and Director of the Development Innovation Lab. Kremer is also founder and president of WorldTeach, co-founder of Precision Agriculture for Development, a research affiliate for Innovations for Poverty Action, and a renowned developmental economist. He earned an A.B. in social studies and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Ha-Joon Chang
# 24
Ha-Joon Chang

1963 - Present (58 years)

#5821 person's overall influence

Ha-Joon Chang is a reader in Political Economy of Development at the University of Cambridge. He earned his undergraduate degree from Seoul National University, and an M.Phil and Ph.D from the University of Cambridge. He is well known for his work in institutionalist political economy, which is a study of economics that situates the economy in context with sociopolitical factors.

Steve Keen
# 25
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.

Ronald Coase
# 26
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.

James Heckman
# 27
James Heckman

1944 - Present (77 years)

#4370 person's overall influence

James Heckman is the Henry Schultz Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago, director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development, co-director of Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group, and professor at the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies. He earned a B.A. in mathematics from Colorado College and a Ph.D in economics from Princeton University.

Eric Maskin
# 28
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.

Eugene Fama
# 29
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.

# 30
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.

Steven Levitt
# 31
Steven Levitt

1967 - Present (54 years)

#3770 person's overall influence

Steven David Levitt is an American economist and co-author of the best-selling book Freakonomics and its sequels . Levitt was the winner of the 2003 John Bates Clark Medal for his work in the field of crime, and is currently the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago as well as the Faculty Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Radical Innovation for Social Change at the University of Chicago. He was co-editor of the Journal of Political Economy published by the University of Chicago Press until December 2007. In 2009, Levitt co-founded T

Emmanuel Saez
# 32
Emmanuel Saez

1972 - Present (49 years)

#6231 person's overall influence

Emmanuel Saez is a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley. Saez studied mathematics and economics at the École normale supérieure and earned a Ph.D in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Nancy Folbre
# 33
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.

Ailsa McKay
# 34
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.

Carmen Reinhart
# 35
Carmen Reinhart

1955 - Present (66 years)

#7817 person's overall influence

Carmen M. Reinhart is a Cuban-born American economist and the Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System at Harvard Kennedy School. Previously, she was the Dennis Weatherstone Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. and Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for International Economics at the University of Maryland. She is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research, Founding Contributor of VoxEU, and a member of Council on Foreign Relations. She

Deirdre McCloskey
# 36
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...

Michael Spence
# 37
Michael Spence

1943 - Present (78 years)

#2621 person's overall influence

Andrew Michael Spence is a Canadian-American economist and Nobel laureate.

Olivier Blanchard
# 38
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.

Gabriel Zucman
# 39
Gabriel Zucman

1986 - Present (35 years)

#9642 person's overall influence

Gabriel Zucman is an internationally recognized expert in corporate tax havens and Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley. He earned his B.Sc from École normale supérieure de Cachan and his M.Sc and Ph.D from the Paris School of Economics.

Jean Tirole
# 40
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.

Daron Acemoğlu
# 41
Daron Acemoğlu

1967 - Present (54 years)

#6096 person's overall influence

Daron Acemoğlu is the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which also awarded him their highest honor, the title of Institute Professor, in 2019. He earned his B.A. from the University of York and his Ph.D from the London School of Economics. Acemoğlu’s research speciality is political economy. After earning his Ph.D at the age of 25, he went on to win the John Bates Clark Medal, that recognizes new economists. A prolific writer, he has published hundreds of works in his quest to understand the causes of poverty. In this work, he ha

Vernon L. Smith
# 42
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.

Angus Deaton
# 43
Angus Deaton

1945 - Present (76 years)

#4737 person's overall influence

Angus Deaton is a Senior Scholar and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. He earned a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.

Arthur Laffer
# 44
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.

Andrei Shleifer
# 45
Andrei Shleifer

1961 - Present (60 years)

#3859 person's overall influence

Andrei Shleifer is a Russian-American economist and Professor of Economics at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1991. Shleifer was awarded the biennial John Bates Clark Medal in 1999 for his seminal works in three fields: corporate finance , the economics of financial markets , and the economics of transition.

Clive Granger
# 46
Clive Granger

1934 - 2009 (75 years)

#9282 person's overall influence

Sir Clive William John Granger was a British econometrician known for his contributions to non-linear time series. He taught in Britain, at the University of Nottingham and in the United States, at the University of California, San Diego. During his university he was a member of Claymore. Granger was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2003 in recognition of the contributions that he and his co-winner, Robert F. Engle, had made to the analysis of time series data. This work fundamentally changed the way in which economists analyse financial and macroeconomic data.

Kenneth Rogoff
# 47
Kenneth Rogoff

1953 - Present (68 years)

#8676 person's overall influence

Kenneth Saul Rogoff is an American economist and chess Grandmaster. He is the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University.

Richard Posner
# 48
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).

Nouriel Roubini
# 49
Nouriel Roubini

1958 - Present (63 years)

#6130 person's overall influence

Nouriel Roubini is chairman of Roubini Macro Associate LLC and an instructor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He earned a B.A. in political economics at Bocconi University and a Ph.D in international economics at Harvard University. He served the Clinton Administration as a senior economist and later, as a senior advisor to the Treasury Department undersecretary for international affairs, Timothy Geithner.

Alan B. Krueger
# 50
Alan B. Krueger

1960 - 2019 (59 years)

#6408 person's overall influence

Alan Bennett Krueger was an American economist who was the James Madison Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, nominated by President Barack Obama, from May 2009 to October 2010, when he returned to Princeton. He was nominated in 2011 by Obama as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and served in that office from November 2011 to August 2013. He was among the 50 highest ranked economists in the world according to Research ...