Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize for economic science

Milton Friedman

Biography: 

Click here to see the Hoover project showcasing the works of Milton and Rose Friedman.

Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize for economic science, was a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006. He passed away on Nov. 16, 2006. (Link to obituary.) He was also the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946 to 1976, and a member of the research staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981.

Friedman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988 and received the National Medal of Science the same year.

He was widely regarded as the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics, which stresses the importance of the quantity of money as an instrument of government policy and as a determinant of business cycles and inflation.

In addition to his scientific work, Friedman also wrote extensively on public policy, always with a primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom. His most important books in this field are (with Rose D. Friedman) Capitalism and Freedom (University of Chicago Press, 1962); Bright Promises, Dismal Performance (Thomas Horton and Daughters, 1983), which consists mostly of reprints of columns he wrote for Newsweek from 1966 to 1983; (with Rose D. Friedman) Free to Choose (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980), which complements a ten-part television series of the same name shown over the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network in early 1980; and (with Rose D. Friedman) Tyranny of the Status Quo (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984), which complements a three-part television series of the same name, shown over PBS in early 1984.

He was a member of the President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force and the President's Commission on White House Fellows. He was a member of President Ronald Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board (a group of experts from outside the government named in 1981 by President Reagan).

Friedman was also active in public affairs, serving as an informal economic adviser to Senator Barry Goldwater in his unsuccessful campaign for the presidency in 1964, to Richard Nixon in his successful 1968 campaign, to President Nixon subsequently, and to Ronald Reagan in his 1980 campaign.

He has published many books and articles, most notably A Theory of the Consumption Function, The Optimum Quantity of Money and Other Essays, and (with A. J. Schwartz) A Monetary History of the United States, Monetary Statistics of the United States, and Monetary Trends in the United States and the United Kingdom.

He was a past president of the American Economic Association, the Western Economic Association, and the Mont Pelerin Society and was a member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Sciences.

He was awarded honorary degrees by universities in the United States, Japan, Israel, and Guatemala, as well as the Grand Cordon of the First Class Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese government in 1986.

Friedman received a B.A. in 1932 from Rutgers University, an M.A. in 1933 from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in 1946 from Columbia University.

Two Lucky People, his and Rose D. Friedman's memoirs, was published in 1998 by the University of Chicago Press.

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Recent Commentary

Friedman FundamentalsAnalysis and Commentary

The Many Restrictions Placed on Free Markets

featuring Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Friday, November 19, 2021

Government restrictions on free enterprise have had negative effects on the emergence of new small businesses in America.

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Tax Rate Hikes And The Economy

by Daniel Heil featuring the work of John H. Cochrane, Michael J. Boskin, Joshua D. Rauh, Milton Friedman, John F. Coganvia Policy Insights | A Succinct Guide to Important Policy Questions
Thursday, February 18, 2021

As a candidate, Biden proposed a series of tax rate increases on high-income families to pay for some of his new programs. What would these tax rate hikes look like, and what would they do to the economy?

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Reasons to Be Thankful

by Daniel Heil featuring the work of Edward Paul Lazear, Russ Roberts, Stephen Haber, Milton Friedman, David C. Mulford, Russell A. Berman, Michael R. Auslin, General Jim Mattisvia Policy Insights | A Succinct Guide to Important Policy Questions
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

This will not be remembered as a year of progress. From the COVID-19 pandemic to geopolitical tensions, it may seem as if the world is going backwards. But we shouldn’t forget that people in the twenty-first century are wealthier and freer than at any other time in history. As we approach the holiday season, let’s explore the many reasons we should be thankful, even in 2020.

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Federalism

by Daniel Heil featuring the work of John Yoo, Clint Bolick, Milton Friedman, David Davenportvia Policy Insights | A Succinct Guide to Important Policy Questions
Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Across much of the world, national governments have responded to the coronavirus pandemic by ordering nonessential businesses to close and residents to shelter in place. In the United States, in contrast, the orders did not originate from the national government; instead, local and state governments took charge.

Books

Choose Economic Freedom: Enduring Policy Lessons from the 1970s and 1980s

by George P. Shultz, John B. Taylor featuring Milton Friedmanvia Hoover Institution Press
Sunday, March 1, 2020

What are the keys to good economic policy? George P. Shultz and John B. Taylor draw from their several decades of experience at the forefront of national economic policy making to show how market fundamentals beat politically-popular government interventions—be they from Democrats or Republicans—as a recipe for success.

Milton Friedman
Analysis and Commentary

Milton Friedman, An 'Elfin Libertarian' Giant

by David R. Henderson featuring Milton Friedmanvia EconLog
Thursday, February 13, 2020

In recent months, various critics of the late Milton Friedman have argued that Friedman dominated economic policy for a large part of the last half century. And yet they don’t typically mean that in a complimentary way. In an August 24 New York Times article, for example, editorial board member Binyamin Appelbaum writes that the “most important figure” in postwar economics was Milton Friedman.

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Prophet Sharing

by Milton Friedmanvia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 20, 2020

Hoover fellow Milton Friedman explained in this famous article the “one and only one social responsibility of business.”

Featured

Milton Friedman On What Drives Economic Progress

featuring Milton Friedmanvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, August 21, 2019

In this animation from a “Friedman Fundamentals” video series by PolicyEd and the Hoover Institution, Milton Friedman demonstrates how the great achievements from civilization have come from individuals pursuing their separate interests, not government.

Featured

Milton Friedman On CEOs

featuring Milton Friedmanvia The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The late, great economist anticipated the Business Roundtable.

Centennial SecretsFeatured

The Timeless Ideas Of Milton Friedman

featuring Milton Friedmanvia The Hoover Centennial
Friday, March 22, 2019

Milton Friedman’s work continues to inform and inspire researchers and policymakers.

Pages

The Collected Works of Milton Friedman


The Collected Works of Milton Friedman website contains more than 1,500 digital items by and about economist, Nobel Prize winner, and Hoover fellow Milton Friedman.

Friedman Fundamentals


Friedman Fundamentals, from the Hoover Institution's PolicyEd Initiative, presents the analytical mastery of Milton Friedman from his interviews, lectures, and presentations in a concise, animated format, bringing together current research conducted by Hoover Institution fellows and the fundamentals taught by Friedman.