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 FundamentalsAnalysis and Commentary

Liberal, Classical Liberal, Libertarian

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The embrace of liberty is the marker of true liberalism. But the term “liberal” has changed over time.

IntellectionsFeatured

Temporary Fix, Permanent Cost: Why Health Insurance Is Expensive

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The long-term effects of wage and price controls during World War II show us how policies that sound good in the short term can have bad long-term consequences.

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

The Costs And Benefits Of Fragmented Power

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Bureaucracies administer the power of the federal government often at great cost to taxpayers.

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

Decentralizing Schools

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, August 18, 2020

More school choice for parents and students is the surest way to improve school quality and promote innovation in education.

Friedman FundamentalsAnalysis and Commentary

Giving Politicians An Excuse To Spend More Money

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Thursday, July 23, 2020

Over the years, politicians have exploited the theories of John Maynard Keynes to increase deficit spending.

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

A Case For Free Markets

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Thursday, June 25, 2020

Competition in the free market helps prevent the concentration of power.

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

Unions And Free Market Labor

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Thursday, June 11, 2020

Unions obtain higher wages for their members by restricting entry into their occupations.

Friedman FundamentalsAnalysis and Commentary

The Economic Gains Of Risk-Taking

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The economic system that advances society the most is one that enables individuals to take risks and accept the consequences.

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

Diversity And Freedom

by Milton Friedmanvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Freedom allows diversity to flourish, while diversity prevents monolithic conformity from being imposed.

Policy InsightsFeatured

Federalism

by John Yoo, Clint Bolick, Milton Friedman, David Davenport, Daniel Heilvia PolicyEd
Thursday, April 30, 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.

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