Tyler Cowen

Tyler Cowen

  • Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University
  • General Director

Tyler Cowen is Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and serves as chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. With colleague Alex Tabarrok, Cowen is coauthor of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution and cofounder of the online educational platform Marginal Revolution University.

A dedicated writer and communicator of economic ideas who has written extensively on the economics of culture, Cowen is the author of several books and is widely published in academic journals and the popular media. He writes the Economic Scene column for the New York Times; has contributed extensively to national publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Money; and serves on the on the advisory boards of both Wilson Quarterly and American Interest. His research has been published in the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs.

In 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek profiled Cowen as “America’s Hottest Economist” after his e-book, The Great Stagnation, appeared twice on the New York Times e-book bestseller list. Columnist David Brooks declared it “the most debated nonfiction book so far this year.” Foreign Policy named Cowen as one of 2011’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” and an Economist survey counted him as one of the most influential economists of the last decade.

Cowen graduated from George Mason University with a BS in economics and received his PhD in economics from Harvard University.




TIME — Top Financial Blogs (2011)

The Wall Street Journal — The Best Economics Blogs (2010)



Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation (Dutton: 2013)

An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies (Dutton: 2012)

The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better (Dutton: 2011)

Good & Plenty: The Creative Successes of American Arts Funding (Princeton University Press: 2004)

Modern Principles of Economics, coauthored with Alex Tabarrok (Worth: 2009)

The Age of the Infovore (aka Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World) (Dutton: 2009)

Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist (Dutton: 2007)

Markets and Cultural Voices: Liberty vs. Power in the Lives of Mexican Amate Painters (University of Michigan Press: 2005)

Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World’s Cultures (Princeton University Press: 2004)

Market Failure of Success: The New Debate, coeditor (Edward Elgar Publishing: 2004)

What Price Fame? (Harvard University Press: 2002)

In Praise of Commercial Culture (Harvard University Press: 2000)



George Mason University Economic Alumnus of the Year (2011)

George Mason University College of Humanities and Social Sciences Alumnus of the Year (2012)


Media and Other

Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers (2011)

The Economist Best Books of 2011 (The Great Stagnation)

Listed by the American Institute for Economic Research on their list of favorite economists under the age of 60 (16th), and as having the second-most popular blog on economics



TEDxEast — The Great Stagnation (2011)



TEDxMidAtlantic — The Great Recession and Beyond (2009)


Published Research

Working Papers

Robin D. Hanson, Tyler Cowen | Oct 2007
We review literatures on agreeing to disagree and on the rationality of differing priors in order to evaluate the honesty of typical disagreements. A robust result is that honest truth-seeking agents…
Tyler Cowen | Nov 2005
Tyler Cowen discusses what we should consider in the event of an avian flu pandemic.
Christopher Coyne, Tyler Cowen | Dec 2003
In this working paper, Cowen and Coyne analyze the array of relationships that take place in the reconstruction process--political, economic and social--by considering under what circumstances they…
Tyler Cowen | Sep 2003
This paper considers models of political failure based on self-deception. Individuals discard free information when that information damages their self-image and thus lowers their utility. More…

Policy Briefs

Expert Commentary

Dec 06, 2014

Rising income inequality has set off fierce political and economic debates, but one important angle hasn’t been explored adequately. We need to ask whether market forces themselves might limit or reverse the trend. Technology has contributed to the rise in inequality, but there are also some significant ways in which technology could reduce it.
Dec 03, 2014

This year, Mercatus scholars share the books they recommend as holiday gifts for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of how economics plays a role in our everyday lives. While not a comprehensive, the resulting list features some of the greatest economic thinkers whose ideas continue to resonate today.
Sep 13, 2014

Debates over the supposed differences between men and women are a staple of pop culture. But two new books offer an economic look at the evidence, giving support to both pessimistic and optimistic perspectives on the direction of gender relations and the prospects for more fairness and equality.
Aug 22, 2014

India’s economy started to reindustrialize in the late 19th century, but growth remained subpar until the 1990s — a truly long recovery lag. This may sound strange to say, but when it comes to some parts of the Western world, the Great Depression may offer the cheerier analogy.


Tyler Cowen


Tyler Cowen | Sep 12, 2013
Widely acclaimed as one of the world’s most influential economists, Tyler Cowen returns with his groundbreaking follow-up to the New York Times bestseller The Great Stagnation.


Tyler Cowen | August 03, 2014
Does economic growth reduce inequality? It's been one the year's great debates, spurred by French Economist Thomas Picketty's international best seller Capital in the 21st century. Piketty argues that capitalism has failed to deliver equality, that the rich are simply getting richer. He also argues that peace might not be to our economic benefit. Tyler Cowen has a very different view.
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