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20 Most Influential Economists of 2021


Unlike in the past, economists now wield considerable political power. Is their influence to be measured in political terms, as in how widely their ideas are implemented in public policy and law? Is their influence measured in the originality of ideas and profundity of analysis? Is their influence to be measured in the degree to which they’ve transformed the discipline? As these questions suggest, no single measure of influence applies across the board. With these questions in the background, The InCAP offers this list of its twenty most influential living economists. It’s an analysis of the International Corporate Association of Professionals (InCAP), so there is no opportunity for debate centering on this ranking.

Here are the 20 Most Influential Economists of 2021 who have had an enormous impact on society.

20. Kenneth Rogoff

Born: March 22, 1953 (age 67 years), Rochester, New York, United States

As a member of both the international monetary Fund (IMF) and the Federal Reserve, Mr. Kenneth provided the world with ways to eradicate corruption through various economic measures. He received his BA and MA from yale university and his Ph.D. from MIT. He is the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University. He is the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Moreover, he is also a Chess Grandmaster!

19. Israel Kirzner

Born: February 13, 1930 (age 90 years), London, United Kingdom

Not every economist of the world has the prestige to become a rabbi, but Israel Meir Kirzner is one of them. By developing his early life theological attributes to many of the otherwise latent theories, his theology was soundproof. However, while going on to economics, the transition was as easy as it sounds and his work on underutilizing entrepreneurship and applying it to competition and entrepreneurship becomes his forte. The competition itself is larger than what traditional supply and demand can provide and provides the basis for which the free leadership and society fit into one another. Liberty Fund is currently publishing Israel Kizner’s Collected Works in ten volumes under the supervision of Peter Boettke and Frederic Sautet.

18. Paul Milgrom

Born: April 20, 1948 (age 72 years), Detroit, Michigan, United States

As one of our times’ most successful economics, Paul Robert Milgrom has developed game theory and the theory of auction theory and pricing strategies. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences last year (2020) for his work. He is also the co-creator of the No-trade theorem with Nancy Stokey and has founded many startups in the USA. He also designed for the FCC the system that would designate cellular frequency to a particular number of calls and also the formulator of the broadcast incentive auction, which basically auctions TV to wireless devices and vice versa for which he is most renowned.

17. Peter Boettke

Born: January 3, 1960 (age 61 years), Rahway, New Jersey

As one of the few very young economist who doesn’t defend analytical anarchism, a graduate of George Mason University and teacher and visiting lecturer of various universities around the world, being young yet recurring one of the best minds in economics hasn’t garnered him the praise that he deserves and for that due credit has to be given to him. Currently, he was at the University of Prague in the Czech Republic. Yes, we are talking about Peter Joseph Boettke. In addition to his academic positions, he is vice president for research at Mercatus Center and director of the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

16. Daniel Kahneman

Born: March 5, 1934 (age 86 years), Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli psychologist and behavioral economist. If we combine both of these traits, which includes anthropology approach to human thinking. He draws social circumstances to put incentive through game theory. His book Thinking, Fast and Slow was the winner of the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Current Interest and the National Academy of Sciences Communication Award for the best book published in 2011 and became a best-seller. Daniel Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002.

15. Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Born: 1960 (age 61 years), Greater Amyoun, Lebanon

You might be surprised to see this name on this list. The Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman proposed the inclusion of Taleb’s name among the world’s top intellectuals, saying, “Taleb has changed the way many people think about uncertainty, particularly in the financial markets. His book, The Black Swan, is an original and audacious analysis of the ways in which humans try to make sense of unexpected events.” As his The Black Swan summarizes, his work concentrates on how to mitigate ill-fated factors by accepting situations created out of those very factors. And as there is a semblance of order out of chaotic existence, Mr. Nassim being a Lebanese-American hasn’t shifted his roots to protrude American vigor found in many USA personalities; he successfully describes the unforeseeable power of certain events that take place around us. He is an epistemologist of randomness rather than a businessman, and that is a perfect suit for him. His work on the probability of the limitations of knowledge using the ways to anticipate impossible scenarios has landed him in modern economics as a trend bearer.

14. Abhijit Banerjee

Born: February 21, 1961 (age 59 years), Mumbai, India

Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee is an India-born naturalized-American economist who is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a president of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development. He is the co-author of Poor Economics. He also serves on the academic advisory board of Plaksha University, an upcoming science and technology university in India. His new book, co-authored with Esther Duflo, Good Economics for Hard Times, was released in October 2019 in India by Juggernaut Books. This Nobel laureate was sent to Delhi’s Tihar Jail for 10 days for participating in protests at Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1983.

13. Thomas Sowell

Born: June 30, 1930 (age 90 years), Gastonia, North Carolina, United States

Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, and senior scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Early on in his life, he dropped out of high school but later went on to get a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He was influential and still continues to be because of his work on supply-side economics and free-market capitalism. As a social theorist, political philosopher, and economist, he is an author of over 30 books on a career that spans more than 70 years. His latest book is Charter Schools and Their Enemies, which was published in 2020.

12. Mark Skousen

Born: October 19, 1947 (age 73 years), San Diego, California, United States

After working for the CIA as an economist and later on getting a Ph.D. from George Washington University, Mark Andrew Skousen became the president of the FEE (Federal Economic Education), which is the largest think tank in America. He developed the freedom fest, a yearly conference that is the largest collection of libertarian-minded people in the world. In 2018, Skousen was awarded a Triple Crown in Economics by Steve Forbes for his work in economic theory, history, and education. He will always be remembered for his many valuable writings.

11. William F. Sharpe

Born: June 16, 1934 (age 86 years), Boston, Massachusetts, United States

William Forsyth Sharpe is yet another prominent American economist. He is the STANCO 25 Professor of Finance, Emeritus at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1990. Some of his works are on the Capital Assisting Sharpe model, the Sharpe Ratio for risk-adjusted investment, and the binomial method to evaluate opinions.

10. Jeffrey Sachs

Born: November 5, 1954 (age 66 years), Detroit, Michigan, United States

Jeffrey David Sachs is one of the few economists who worked in economics to meet economics itself and the science of politics and merge these two different ideas for modern-day development. His best criterion was his research initiatives on a national scale rather than limiting them to market capitalism and private sector bankers. Sachs is an academic, public policy analyst, and former director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he has earned a University Professorship. He is known as a leading expert on sustainable development, economic development, and the fight against poverty.

9. Christopher A. Pissarides

Born: February 20, 1948 (age 72 years), Nicosia, Cyprus

Sir Christopher Antoniou Pissarides FBA is a British economist originally from Cyprus. His work was on search frictions. He was awarded the Nobel Prize (2010) in economics. He is the School Professor of Economics & Political Science and Regius Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, and Professor of European Studies at the University of Cyprus. His research focuses on topics of macroeconomics, notably labor, economic growth, and economic policy.

8. Amartya Sen

Born: November 3, 1933 (age 87 years), Santiniketan, India

There are people in the world of economics who study it for the sake of being proficient at math, while others do it to study nature. While Amartya Kumar Sen, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, had all those qualities, he created a system that helps us alleviate poverty and its psychology. Some of his methods are welfare economics, wealth distribution, choice, and game theory. This work has impacted the United Nations human development reports and has landed him in numerous teaching positions all around the world. Mr. Sen has received over 90 honorary degrees from universities around the world. In 2019, London School of Economics announced the creation of the Amartya Sen Chair in Inequality Studies.

7. Ernst Fehr

Born: June 21, 1956 (age 64 years), Hard, Austria

Very few economists rely on behavioral economics as a tool to detect market inflows. Mr. Ernest is one such guy who used behavioral economics to explain altruism in terms of economists, and this has elevated economics into a more mathematical modeling science than it was perceived to be. In 2010 Mr. Ernst founded, together with his brother, Gerhard Fehr, FehrAdvice & Partners, the first globally operating consultancy firm completely dedicated to behavioral economics.

6. Hernando de Soto

Born: June 1941 (age 79 years), Arequipa, Peru

Originally from Peru, Soto has radicalized economics itself. Using moral boundaries and what is actually possible through free-market capitalism is some of his trademarks, and even amidst violence, through procedural science wins, and he has shown it. His work in the developing world has been acclaimed by countless heads of state around the world, especially his publication The Mystery of Capital. He is the current president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD), a think tank dedicated to economic development in developing countries based in Lima, Peru.

5. Paul Krugman

Born: February 28, 1953 (age 67 years), Albany, New York, United States

Being a Nobel Prize winner isn’t that easy and doing that too being a public intellectual is a more difficult task. After giving lectures in universities such as MIT and Princeton, the audacity which follows him hasn’t pervaded his brilliance. A brilliant man and a genius economist, his tenure with The New York Times make him one of the most noted economists of the modern generation. His research concentrates on trade and how dissimilar attitudes and resource allocation between nations affect trade is some of his most groundbreaking works. To put it simply, why a nation with a wealth gap become trade partners and the trade barriers exceeding one another.

4. Esther Duflo

Born: October 25, 1972 (age 48 years), Paris, France

Esther Duflo is a Nobel prize-winning economist who got the award in 2019, basing more of her works to put economic models to alleviate poverty. Her work mainly concerns how she developed randomly controlled trials and how she used them to build the poverty control lab at MIT to carry out further research on the economics of the poor.

Duflo is a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) research associate, a board member of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), and director of the Centre for Economic Policy Research’s development economics program.

3. Andrei Shleifer

Born: February 20, 1961 (age 59 years), Moscow, Russia

Andre Schleifer 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 fundamental works in three fields: corporate finance, the deviations from efficient markets, and the economics of transition.

In 1997, the USAID canceled most of its funding for the Harvard project after investigations showed that top Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) officials Andrei Shleifer and Jonathan Hay had used their positions and insider information to profit from investments in the Russian securities markets. Among other things, the Institute for a Law Based Economy (ILBE) was allegedly used to assist Shleifer’s wife, Nancy Zimmerman, who operated a hedge fund that speculated in Russian bonds.

In August 2005, Harvard University, Shleifer and the Department of Justice reached an agreement under which the university paid $26.5 million to settle the five-year-old lawsuit. Shleifer was also responsible for paying $2 million worth of damages, though he did not admit any wrongdoing.

2. Joseph Stiglitz

Born: February 9, 1943 (age 77 years), Gary, Indiana, United States

Joseph Eugene Stiglitz is an American economist who got the Nobel prize in 2001 in economics and is mostly renowned for Georgist policy theory and his critical view of globalization and his views on free-market fundamentalists the laissez-faire theorists. He is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and is a former member and chairman of the (US president’s) Council of Economic Advisers.

1. Dambisa Moyo

Born: February 2, 1969 (age 51 years), Lusaka, Zambia

An award-winning author of new york times bestseller books, Dambisa Moyo is one of the most underrated economists of our time. Her origins are from Zambia, and her education ranges from her Ba from American university at Washington to the University of Oxford. Her research is a constituent of Macroeconomic theory and global affairs. Some of her most renowned books, namely Dead Aid and How The West Was Lost, are among many of her The New York Times bestseller list of books that she got published. Her main work in the World Bank and Goldman Sachs was on debt capital markets, hedge funds coverage, and global macroeconomics. Moyo is a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Bretton Woods Committee, and a regular contributor to Project Syndicate since 2013.

That’s the end of the list of 20 Most Influential Economists of 2021. If you have any feedback on the list or have any economics influencers that you think we should consider adding to the list, please contact us at [email protected]
Thank You!

Special Thanks To
Engr. Samin Shadman Zahir
Contributor, The InCAP

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