Thomas Sowell and the Nobel Prize

Glenn Loury was recently on the Lex Fridman podcast. “Regardless of his race, he’s black” I hope so. I would be shocked to learn if if he’s white. It’s not called the Nobel Prize in economics, because Alfred Nobel didn’t stipulate such a category in his will. There is no such category. Instead it’s called “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.” But I guess you can colloquially call it a ‘Nobel In Economics.’

But why hasn’t Dr. Sowell gotten one, and probably never will? I discuss this in much more detail in a 2016 post Why Thomas Sowell Never Got a Nobel Prize. He’s 90, so time is running out. Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously. Second, prizes are generally understood for be awarded for specific original and substantive results or findings. It’s not a lifetime achievement award. It’s not for writing books, for communicating concepts to a wider audience, for social commentary and taking a controversial stand on political issues (at least for economics), or for being a philosopher. It’s about specific results or at least some important insight that advances the field. Second, it must be verified or tested, which is why theoretical results, like string theory, will not be eligible. This is a high bar to clear which is why it’s so uncommon and signifies a lot. (I am talking about the Nobel Prizes in the sciences, mainly, other categories are probably under much more ideological/political capture.)

I think Thomas Sowell is a way better economist though than someone like Paul Krugman, who did get one.