Milton Friedman: Non-Research Activities 1976-89

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Economics Working Paper WP11102

My assigned topic is to discuss the mostly non-research activities in which Milton Friedman took an active role from the time of his Nobel Prize to the end of the Reagan administration. As always he was extremely active. Judging from his correspondence, he rarely refused a speaking engagement whether from a high school class or a major government.

A typical example is the note from a former graduate student in California who wrote to him in 1984 asking questions about Chile. She wrote: “Twenty years have passed and I have yet to meet anyone of his stature and reputation who was so available.” (Hankins, 2002)

I have divided the mass of material into nine topics starting with the disgraceful controversy surrounding the award of his Nobel Prize and ending with several familiar topics including the advice he gave to President Reagan at the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board, (PEPAB). I worked on some similar topics, especially monetary theory and policy so I was always interested in his commentary in Newsweek magazine and elsewhere, and I served on PEPAB with him and others, during part of the Reagan administration. From the mass of material, I selected papers and comments that convey his main themes.

Milton Friedman: Non-Research Activities 1976-89