Lester Carl Thurow (May 7, 1938 – March 25, 2016) was an American political economist, former dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of books on economic topics.


Born in Livingston, Montana, Thurow received his B.A. in political economy from Williams College in 1960, where he was in Theta Delta Chi and Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, and a Tyng Scholar. After he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, he went to Balliol College, Oxford to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics, graduating in 1962 with first class honors. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University in 1964.[1]


Thurow was on the board of directors of Analog Devices, Grupo Casa Autrey, E-Trade, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. Thurow was one of the founders of the Economic Policy Institute in 1986. Thurow was an economics columnist for, among others, the Boston Globe and USA Today. He was an economics columnist for and on the editorial board of the New York Times, and was a contributing editor to Newsweek, where he earned the 1982 Gerald Loeb Award for Columns/Editorials.[2]

Thurow was a longtime advocate of a political and economic system of the Japanese and European type, in which governmental involvement in the direction of the economy is far more extensive than is the case in the United States – a model that has come to be known as "Third Way" philosophy. Thurow supported a more universal patent system as a requirement for a knowledge-based economy, where governments would assess the value of infringements of intellectual property against their companies by competitors in foreign jurisdictions and allow these companies to match that.[1][3]

Thurow died at the age of 77 on March 25, 2016.[4][5]


External videos
video icon Booknotes interview with Thurow on Head to Head: The Coming Economic Battle Among Japan, Europe, and America, May 31, 1992, C-SPAN
video icon Washington Journal interview with Thurow on Fortune Favors the Bold, October 8, 2003, C-SPAN

His 1993 book, Head to Head: The Coming Economic Battle Among Japan, Europe and America [6] compares economic growth and living standards in Japan, Europe, and the U.S. His other books include:


  1. ^ a b "Lester Thurow". MIT Sloan School of Management. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  2. ^ "Historical Winners List". UCLA Anderson School of Management. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  3. ^ Wired Magazine – Interview and Description of Thurow's Patents Plan
  4. ^ "Prominent MIT economist and dean Lester Thurow dies at 78". MIT News. 29 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  5. ^ Koblin, John (29 March 2016). "Lester C. Thurow, Economist Who Seized the Spotlight, is Dead at 77". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Lester C. Thurow (1992). Head to head: the coming economic battle among Japan, Europe, and America. Morrow. ISBN 978-0-688-11150-2.