The Undergraduate Economics Fellows program is named for the great American economist, Thomas Sowell, who is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. The reason for this is three fold.  

  • The Social Research area at the Busch School of Business takes its inspiration from some of the great interdisciplinary programs in economics and social thought in the 20th century, including the John Nef Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and the (formerly named) New School for Social Research in NYC. Tom Sowell, trained as an academic economist at Columbia and at the University of Chicago, has devoted his intellectual life to writing about matters of broad importance ranging from economics to social policy, history of ideas to school choice and much more. The scope and quality of his life’s work represents an important aspiration for the Social Research Area of the Busch School.
  • Born into poverty in rural North Carolina, losing his parents at a young age, and subsequently growing up in Harlem after the age of 8, Tom Sowell’s life story itself provides a model and antidote to biased and privileged ideas about who can be good at economics. He has devoted a large part of his work to the subject of Discrimination and Disparities (Basic Books, 2019). The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Sowell has remained a humble and persistent advocate for minority students, and is most recently the author of Charter Schools and Their Enemies (Basic Books, 2020). The launch of this program coincides with a newly released,, May 2021 biography of Sowell’s life and work, Maverick by Jason L. Riley. 
  • Tom Sowell’s Basic Economics (Basic Books, 5th ed. 2014) continues to be an international blockbuster and has been translated into multiple languages around the world, including notably Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and Hebrew among others. Subtitled “A Commonsense Guide to the Economy” it communicates economic ideas without graphs or equations, and takes the approach that “learning economics should be as uncomplicated as it is eye opening.” Most fundamentally, the Economics Fellows program is named for Tom Sowell because his Basic Economics forms the backbone of our boutique, re-designed courses in introductory economics, outlined below.