Tyler Cowen

America's "Hottest Economist" (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)
Economics Professor, George Mason University
Author, Average Is Over

The economics of rich and poor: the winners and losers among companies, countries, regions, and industries.

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Tyler Cowen shows the economic, financial, and demographic forces which will determine the winners and losers of the next decade in fields as different as healthcare, education, energy, and global markets. He offers compelling analyses of the future of the Eurozone, Medicare and Medicaid, the American financial system, and many more, demonstrating in every case who will come out on top and why.

Tyler's predictions flow from the vision laid out in his bestselling book The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better. The sources of our past growth were easy pickings like cheap land and boosts in education. Now that we've exhausted these, we face a tough playing field where some countries, regions, and industries will push themselves to the top through discipline and innovation, while others fade away. The gap between the highly successful and the deeply unsuccessful will only continue to widen.

This widening gap between rich and poor is further developed in Tyler's new book, Average Is Over. Around three quarters of U.S. jobs created since the Great Recession pay barely above minimum wage; at the same time, the U.S. has the most millionaires and billionaires of any country and continues to mint more. How can this be? Tyler explains how the rise of data analysis and technological tools has made the specialists rich and left the uneducated in the dust. But, having diagnosed the problem, he points the way towards recovery, offering actionable advice to workers and entrepreneurs who want to make the most of this new environment. As always, Tyler's vision is striking and controversial, but non-partisan — and key to understanding the century ahead.

Tyler Cowen is the Holbert C. Harris Professor of Economics at George Mason University. Foreign Policy named him one of 2011's Top 100 Global Thinkers, and a survey by The Economist placed him among the most influential economists of the decade. He is a regular contributor to Bloomberg View. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and others. His blog, Marginal Revolution, was named the best economics blog on the web by The Wall Street Journal and is one of TIME's 25 Best Bloggers, 2013 Edition. Tyler's other books include Discover Your Inner Economist, a treatment of behavioral economics, and An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies.


Average Is Over

Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation

Tyler Cowen

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.

The widening gap between rich and poor means dealing with one big, uncomfortable truth: If you’re not at the top, you’re at the bottom.

The global labor market is changing radically thanks to growth at the high end — and the low. About three quarters of the jobs created in the United States since the great recession pay only a bit more than minimum wage. Still, the United States has more millionaires and billionaires than any country ever, and we continue to mint them.

In this eye-opening book, renowned economist and bestselling author Tyler Cowen explains that phenomenon: High earners are taking ever more advantage of machine intelligence in data analysis and achieving ever-better results. Meanwhile, low earners who haven’t committed to learning, to making the most of new technologies, have poor prospects. Nearly every business sector relies less and less on manual labor, and this fact is forever changing the world of work and wages. A steady, secure life somewhere in the middle — average — is over.

With The Great Stagnation, Cowen explained why median wages stagnated over the last four decades; in Average Is Over he reveals the essential nature of the new economy, identifies the best path forward for workers and entrepreneurs, and provides readers with actionable advice to make the most of the new economic landscape. It is a challenging and sober must-read but ultimately exciting, good news. In debates about our nation’s economic future, it will be impossible to ignore.

Dutton Adult (September 12, 2013)


Tyler Cowen's Future Shock: No More Average PeopleReal Clear Politics
Not average at allThe Enlightened Economist blog
ReviewThe Wall Street Journal


“A buckle-your-seatbelts, swiftly moving tour of the new economic landscape.”
— Kirkus Reviews

An Economist Gets Lunch

New Rules for Everyday Foodies

Tyler Cowen

One of the most influential economists of the decade-and the New York Times bestselling author of The Great Stagnation — boldly argues that just about everything you've heard about food is wrong.

Food snobbery is killing entrepreneurship and innovation, says economist, preeminent social commentator, and maverick dining guide blogger Tyler Cowen. Americans are becoming angry that our agricultural practices have led to global warming-but while food snobs are right that local food tastes better, they're wrong that it is better for the environment, and they are wrong that cheap food is bad food. The food world needs to know that you don't have to spend more to eat healthy, green, exciting meals. At last, some good news from an economist!

Tyler Cowen discusses everything from slow food to fast food, from agriculture to gourmet culture, from modernist cuisine to how to pick the best street vendor. He shows why airplane food is bad but airport food is good; why restaurants full of happy, attractive people serve mediocre meals; and why American food has improved as Americans drink more wine. And most important of all, he shows how to get good, cheap eats just about anywhere.

Just as The Great Stagnation was Cowen's response to all the fashionable thinking about the economic crisis, An Economist Gets Lunch is his response to all the fashionable thinking about food. Provocative, incisive, and as enjoyable as a juicy, grass-fed burger, it will influence what you'll choose to eat today.

Plume; Reprint edition (February 26, 2013)
Dutton Adult (April 12, 2012)

The Great Stagnation

How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better

Tyler Cowen

The eSpecial heard round the world that ignited a firestorm of debate and redefined the nature of our economic malaise, is now, at last, a book.

America has been through the biggest financial crisis since the great Depression, unemployment numbers are frightening, media wages have been flat since the 1970s, and it is common to expect that things will get worse before they get better. Certainly, the multidecade stagnation is not yet over. How will we get out of this mess? One political party tries to increase government spending even when we have no good plan for paying for ballooning programs like Medicare and Social Security. The other party seems to think tax cuts will raise revenue and has a record of creating bigger fiscal disasters that the first. Where does this madness come from? 

As Cowen argues, our economy has enjoyed low-hanging fruit since the seventeenth century: free land, immigrant labor, and powerful new technologies. But during the last forty years, the low-hanging fruit started disappearing, and we started pretending it was still there. We have failed to recognize that we are at a technological plateau. The fruit trees are barer than we want to believe. That's it. That is what has gone wrong and that is why our politics is crazy. 

Cowen reveals the underlying causes of our past prosperity and how we will generate it again. This is a passionate call for a new respect of scientific innovations that benefit not only the powerful elites, but humanity as a whole.

Dutton Adult (June 9, 2011)

Book Reviews

The spectre of a jobless online worldFinancial Times
'The Great Stagnation'New York Journal of Books


"One of the most talked-about books among economists right now."
— Renee Montagne, Morning Edition, NPR

"Tyler Cowen may very well turn out to be this decade's Thomas Friedman."
— Kelly Evans, The Wall Street Journal

"Cowen's book...will have a profound impact on the way people think about the last thirty years."
— Ryan Avent, Economist.com

"As Cowen makes clear, many of this era's technological breakthroughs produce enormous happiness gains, but surprisingly little economic activity.
— David Brooks, The New York Times

The Age of the Infovore

Succeeding in the Information Economy

Tyler Cowen

A fundamental guide for the information consumers we all are now.

Renowned behavioral economist and commentator Tyler Cowen shows that our super networked world is changing the way we think-and empowering us to thrive in new ways. Whether it is micro-blogging on Twitter, buying single songs at iTunes, or data mining our digital memories, we can now customize our supply of information to better satisfy our hunger for a rich and satisfying inner life. The Age of the Infovore will show you how to manage the massive daily flow of data better, no matter how adept you may already be at Facebooking, watching television, or studying for that test. 

Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations transformed how we thought about industry and trade. Tyler Cowen now delivers a manifesto for this century's industrial revolution: the information explosion.

Plume (June 29, 2010)

Create Your Own Economy

The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World

Tyler Cowen

One of the most respected behavioral economists in the world and coauthor of the "best economics blog in the universe" offers an essential guide to success in a radically new hyper-networked age.

How will we live well in a super-networked, information-soaked, yet predictably irrational world? The only way to know is to understand how the way we think is changing.

As economist Tyler Cowen boldly shows in Create Your Own Economy, the way we think now is changing more rapidly than it has in a very long time. Not since the Industrial Revolution has a man-made creation-in this case, the World Wide Web-so greatly influenced the way our minds work and our human potential. Cowen argues brilliantly that we are breaking down cultural information into ever-smaller tidbits, ordering and reordering them in our minds (and our computers) to meet our own specific needs.

Create Your Own Economy explains why the coming world of Web 3.0 is good for us; why social networking sites such as Facebook are so necessary; what's so great about "Tweeting" and texting; how education will get better; and why politics, literature, and philosophy will become richer. This is a revolutionary guide to life in the new world.

Dutton Adult (July 9, 2009)


"Only a mind like Tyler Cowen's could weave Facebook, Zen Buddhism, Sherlock Holmes, and so much more into a coherent and compelling argument. Create Your Own Economy will change the way you think about thinking."
— Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind

"Create Your Own Economy will open your mind to thinking differently. The unique thought processes of individuals on the autism spectrum provide a great value to our world. This book will help you to be smart and successful in your own way."
— Temple Grandin, author of
Thinking in Pictures*

Discover Your Inner Economist

Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist

Tyler Cowen

Freakonomics revealed much about our society. Now, one of America’s most respected economists reveals how individuals can turn economic reasoning to their advantage in their daily life — at home, at work, even on vacation. Tyler Cowen explains how understanding the incentives that work best with each individual is the key to successful and satisfactory daily interactions — from getting the kids to do the dishes to having a productive business meeting, attracting a mate to finding a good guide in a foreign country. Discovering your inner economist, Cowen suggests, can lead to a happier, more satisfying life. What better carrot could you ask for?

Dutton Adult (August 2, 2007)


"Fast, furious, and fun, with great examples of how to apply economic thinking to nontraditional subjects."
— Stephen J. Dubner, coauthor of Freakonomics

"Engaging [and] useful."
The Washington Post

"[An] economist who’s a wonderfully entertaining writer but also a deeply humane thinker…will…show you how thinking better can actually help you live better."
— James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds

Good and Plenty

The Creative Successes of American Arts Funding

Tyler Cowen

Americans agree about government arts funding in the way the women in the old joke agree about the food at the wedding: it's terrible — and such small portions! Americans typically either want to abolish the National Endowment for the Arts, or they believe that public arts funding should be dramatically increased because the arts cannot survive in the free market. It would take a lover of the arts who is also a libertarian economist to bridge such a gap. Enter Tyler Cowen. In this book he argues why the U.S. way of funding the arts, while largely indirect, results not in the terrible and the small but in Good and Plenty — and how it could result in even more and better.

Few would deny that America produces and consumes art of a quantity and quality comparable to that of any country. But is this despite or because of America's meager direct funding of the arts relative to European countries? Overturning the conventional wisdom of this question, Cowen argues that American art thrives through an ingenious combination of small direct subsidies and immense indirect subsidies such as copyright law and tax policies that encourage nonprofits and charitable giving. This decentralized and even somewhat accidental — but decidedly not laissez-faire — system results in arts that are arguably more creative, diverse, abundant, and politically unencumbered than that of Europe.

Bringing serious attention to the neglected issue of the American way of funding the arts, Good and Plenty is essential reading for anyone concerned about the arts or their funding.

Princeton University Press (April 17, 2006)

Creative Destruction

How Globalization Is Changing the World's Cultures

Tyler Cowen

A Frenchman rents a Hollywood movie. A Thai schoolgirl mimics Madonna. Saddam Hussein chooses Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as the theme song for his fifty-fourth birthday. It is a commonplace that globalization is subverting local culture. But is it helping as much as it hurts? In this strikingly original treatment of a fiercely debated issue, Tyler Cowen makes a bold new case for a more sympathetic understanding of cross-cultural trade. Creative Destruction brings not stale suppositions but an economist's eye to bear on an age-old question: Are market exchange and aesthetic quality friends or foes? On the whole, argues Cowen in clear and vigorous prose, they are friends. Cultural "destruction" breeds not artistic demise but diversity.

Through an array of colorful examples from the areas where globalization's critics have been most vocal, Cowen asks what happens when cultures collide through trade, whether technology destroys native arts, why (and whether) Hollywood movies rule the world, whether "globalized" culture is dumbing down societies everywhere, and if national cultures matter at all. Scrutinizing such manifestations of "indigenous" culture as the steel band ensembles of Trinidad, Indian handweaving, and music from Zaire, Cowen finds that they are more vibrant than ever — thanks largely to cross-cultural trade.

For all the pressures that market forces exert on individual cultures, diversity typically increases within society, even when cultures become more like each other. Trade enhances the range of individual choice, yielding forms of expression within cultures that flower as never before. While some see cultural decline as a half-empty glass, Cowen sees it as a glass half-full with the stirrings of cultural brilliance. Not all readers will agree, but all will want a say in the debate this exceptional book will stir.

Princeton University Press (March 1, 2004)


Tyler tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

The Economics of Rich and Poor

The Great Stagnation


Cass Sunstein | Conversations with Tyler

Jonathan Haidt | Conversations with Tyler

The Great Stagnation | TEDx

Be Suspicious of Stories | TEDx


A global leader in insurance broking and risk management:
Your outlook on the economy and its implications were thought-provoking and very opportune to us as leaders of global business. Your welcoming and engaging presentation style contributed to the very high marks we received across the board from attendees. Thank you for participating and I hope we will have another opportunity to work together in the future.

A retirement management association:
[We'd like] to express our appreciation for [Tyler's] work yesterday. The luncheon was a success and his presentation was understandable, interesting and enjoyable.

Tyler — All of us at [ . . . ] want to thank you for making our client luncheon such a success. Your talk was provocative and very well-received by our clients. It was a pleasure to meet you yesterday. It’s always fun to talk with another classical-music lover.


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