Poll of the greatest 20th century economists

Given the source, expect a left-wing, anti-neoclassical perspective.  Here are the tallies, with a much longer list at the link:

1. John Maynard Keynes 3,253 

2. Joseph Alois Schumpeter 1,080 

3. John Kenneth Galbraith 904 

4. Amartya Sen 708

5. Joan Robinson 607

6. Thorstein Veblen 591

7. Michal Kalecki 481

8. Friedrich Hayek 469

9. Karl Polanyi 456

10. Piero Sraffa 383

11. Joseph Stiglitz 333

12. Kenneth Arrow 320 

13. Milton Friedman 319

13. Paul Samuelson 319

15. Paul Sweezy 268

16. Herman Daly 267 

17. Herbert Simon 250 

18. Ronald Coase 246

19. Gunnar Myrdal 216 

20. Alfred Marshall 211

At least Milton Friedman beat out Herman Daly.  Poor John Hicks.  And further down the list, does Pierangelo Garegnani, an obscure neo-Ricardian obsessed with commodity own-rates of return, deserve to place ahead of Franco Modigliani?

Thanks to www.politicaltheory.info for the pointer.


Who is more overrated, Keynes or Galbraith? I guess Galbraith. Schumpeter at #2 is overrated, too, at least in realtion to Milton Friedman who I would rate #1.

The bastards! Maybe MR should have its own poll... There is free web software out there that allows you to run rather complex surveys for free.

As for this list... the first 3 should be much lower, Hayek should also be lower, Friedman Arrow, Samuelson, Marshall and Coase higher.

My favorite was:

Vladimir Lenin 36
Robert Lucas 32

Some interesting results from the second page:

Leon Trotsky 7
Mahatma Ghandi 6
Steven Levitt 6
G.K. Chesterton 4
Tim Berners-Lee 2
Linus Torvalds 1

Of course, this says it all:

Votes for Non-Twentieth-Century Economists
Marx, Karl 148
Smith, Adam 66

Marx, Karl 148
Ludwig von Mises 78
Gary Becker 58
Thomas Schelling 53
John Nash 51
James Buchanan 49
Robert Solow 40

Rosa Luxemburg 37
Vladimir Lenin 36
Vernon Smith 35
Hernando de Soto 21
Richard Thaler 15
Tullock, Gordon 8

Trotsky, Leon 7
Engels, Friedrich 4
Machlup, Fritz 4
Kirzner, Israel 4
Wieser, Friedrich Von 4
Bauer, Peter Thomas 2
Bohm-Bawerk, Eugen 2
Laffer, Arthur 2
Robbins, Lionel 2
Seldon, Arthur 1

Drucker, Peter F. 5
Rothbard, M. N. 5
Bernanke, Ben 3
Chomsky, Noam 2
Greespan, Alan 2
Sachs, J. 2
DeLong, Brad 1
Diamond, Jared 1
Malthus, Thomas 1

Laffer only got 2 votes!!! And, numbers 5-7 above Friedman is preposterous.

I find it ironic that anyone voted for Kenneth Arrow.

Any list that includes Veblen, notable only for this sycophancy of Marx, is totally void in my book. Doubly so if that list ranks Veblen higher than Kenneth Arrow, Ronald Coase, and Milton Friedman.

What is the gripe w/ von Mises?

Hey, why isn't Jesus in that list?

Hayek was a right-winger? I didn't get the memo.

Neither did the Republican Party.

And finally, I ask the important question that is on everyone's mind:

Where's Bono?

(Where's Waldo?)

www.wheresgeorge.com ?

I think we could construct a scale identifying the True Believers on this site, measured by love for Friedman at one end and Laffer at the other. Hopefully sean would be all by himself on the Laffer side.

I never said I was a huge Laffer fan. All I implied was that an economist who has a "big idea" and a large amount of influence to his credit may have been expected to get more than 2 votes, less than many unheard-of or less important (in terms of ideas and influence) economists.

How about an alternative ranking using Prediction Markets rather than polls? Perhaps predicting rankings of citations in academic papers over the next 50 years. Or rank economic concepts (eg Coase theorem, Laffer curve, etc) and predict the influence over the next 50 years, through citation counts or some other objective measure. If we believe in the predictive power of markets then this method should separate the popular ideas from the effective ones.

Seriously why did you mention this poll?
I guess that it provides some value by discrediting the PAE review.

I would say that both von Neumann and Nash should be in the top ten.
Given that I have now listed 8 who should be there (Keynes, Schumpeter,
Friedman, Becker, Samuelson, Arrow, von Neumann, and Nash) that leaves
the question open as to who out of those on the original list should be
dumped. I don't know.

The linked poll does not show Garegnani beating Modigliani. They are tied.

I assume Eddie's comment about Arrow was about social choice. But the poll had some structure that seems to me to show some thought about that issue.

I find argle's comment incomprehensible. Both Hayek and Schumpeter appear in the top 10.

Timothy's comment about Veblen being a sycophant of Marx strikes me as pure ignorance.

For game theory, I would put von Neumann over Nash. That way one gets his growth model and his modeling of neurons, too. The PAE folks narrowly disagree with me here.

I like the PAE list of top 10, but realize one has more than enough to choose from. If one thinks mainstream academic economics is
misdirected, the theme of PAE, then one should expect the results to be out of line with citation indices. Note the criteria given at the top of the poll.

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