Former Hoover fellow and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.

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 FundamentalsFeatured

What Drives Economic Progress

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The world thrives when individuals are able to pursue their interests without government interference.

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.

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

What Drives High Health Care Costs: Friedman Fundamentals

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The fundamental reason for high health care expenses is third-party payments. Most payments to physicians are made not by the patient but by a third-party — an insurance company or governmental body. By eliminating most third-party payments and restoring the role of insurance to protecting against major medical catastrophes, health care cost and spending can be reduced.

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

The Appropriate Role Of Government

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Thursday, February 7, 2019

Milton Friedman, Hoover Institution Senior Research Fellow and Nobel Laureate, discusses how there are times when the government can become involved without infringing upon political freedom and autonomy. If two individuals enter into a business, most likely they will both benefit from it; however, there are cases in which a business can impose a cost on another individual without providing reparation. In this case, the government can become involved if markets are unable to compensate for the harm they’ve imposed.

Policy InsightsFeatured

Policy Insights: Free Trade

featuring Milton Friedman, John B. Taylor, John H. Cochrane , Edward Paul Lazear, Michael J. Boskin, Richard A. Epstein, Russell Roberts, Tom Churchvia PolicyEd
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

After a generation of trade liberalizations, many Americans—on the left and the right—are having second thoughts.

Milton Friedman receiving the Nobel Prize
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Is a Free Society Stable?

by Milton Friedmanvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The record of history suggests that tyranny and despotism are the normal state of affairs.

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What Does “Created Equal” Mean?

by Milton Friedmanvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, March 8, 2018

A society that puts equality ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.

Milton Friedman
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The Fragility Of Freedom

by Milton Friedmanvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, December 7, 2017

The periods and places in which there has been something approaching a free society have been few and far between.

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The Future Of Capitalism

by Milton Friedmanvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

It’s not possible to have a free society unless its economic resources are operated under a system of private enterprise.

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Milton Friedman: Old School Liberalism

by Milton Friedmanvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The root of most arguments against the market is a lack of belief in freedom—at least for other people—as a worthy end.

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