A comprehensive biography of Milton Friedman with information on his childhood and life.

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Famous as
Economist, Statistician
Born on
31 July 1912    Famous 31st July Birthdays
Zodiac Sign
Leo    Leo Men
Born in
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Died on
16 November 2006
place of death
San Francisco, California, USA
Jeno" Friedman
Sára Landau
David, Janet
University of Chicago (1933)
Rutgers University (1932)
Rahway High School (1928)
Columbia University
The Foundation for Educational Choice
John Bates Clark Medal (1951)
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (1976)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (1988)
More Awards
National Medal of Science (1988)

Milton Friedman
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Milton Friedman was a well-known American economist and professor of statistics at the University of Chicago. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He has made his mark among other economists and scholars and is best known for his theoretical and empirical research work in consumption analysis, monetary history and theory for demonstrating the complexity of stabilization policy. He acted as an economic advisor to the U.S. President Ronald Reagan. His political philosophy that propagated the virtues of a free market economic system with little intervention by government is practiced by many governments. His works greatly influenced the research agenda. He also served as the leader of the Chicago school of economics under the University of Chicago. Milton Friedman's works include monographs, books, scholarly articles, papers, magazine columns, television programs, videos, and lectures. He wrote on a variety of topics on microeconomics, macroeconomics, economic history, and public policy issues. Originally a Keynesian supporter of the New Deal, he insisted on the government intervention in the economy. He then founded The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. The Economist called him "the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century…possibly of all of it". Friedman died at the age of 94 on 16th November 2006.

Milton Friedman Childhood
Milton Friedman was born on 31st July, 1912 in Brooklyn, New York. He was born to Jenõ Friedman and Sára Landau. Both his parents were Jewish immigrants from Beregszász in Hungary (now Berehove, part of Ukraine). Both of them worked as dry goods merchants. Just after his birth, his family shifted to settle in Rahway, New Jersey.

Education and Early Life
Milton Friedman was a good and talented student. He did his graduation from Rahway High School in 1928, a few days before his 16th birthday. He graduated from Rutgers University in New Jersey.
During this period, Friedman was influenced and found inspiration in two of his economics professors, Arthur F. Burns and Homer Jones. Both of them convinced him of the fact that modern economics could help end the Great Depression. Friedman was highly influenced by Jacob Viner, Frank Knight, and Henry Simons. Between the periods from 1933 to 1934, he did his fellowship at Columbia University and there he did his study of statistics under renowned statistician and economist Harold Hotelling. He then went back to Chicago and spent the rest of the years working as a research assistant for Henry Schultz from the period 1934 until 1935. He then did his work the Theory and Measurement of Demand. It was during this time that Friedman formed a long lasting friendship with friends for life George Stigler and W. Allen Wallis.

Public Service Career
Initially, Friedman failed to get employment in the academic field. Failing to get employed he followed his friend W. Allen Wallis to Washington. During this time, Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal proved to be "a lifesaver" for many young economists. Friedman said he and his wife "regarded the job-creation programs such as the WPA, CCC, and PWA appropriate responses to the critical situation", but not "the price- and wage-fixing measures of the National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration". He was of the opinion that all government intervention was associated with the New Deal and termed it "the wrong cure for the wrong disease". He stressed on the point that the money supply should have been expanded, instead of contracted. In Monetary History of the United States, written by Friedman and Anna Schwartz, they debated that the Great Depression was caused by monetary contraction, which was the consequence of poor policymaking by the Federal Reserve and the continuous crises in the banking system.

In 1935, he started his work on the National Resources Committee, which was carried on a large consumer budget survey. The ideas of this project came from his Theory of the Consumption Function. In 1937, Friedman began employment with the National Bureau of Economic Research to assist Simon Kuznets in his work on professional income. This work resulted in their co-authored publication Incomes from Independent Professional Practice, which introduced the concepts of permanent and transitory income and gave light on the major component of the Permanent Income Hypothesis. Friedman worked on it more elaborately in the 1950s.

In 1940, Friedman served as an assistant professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. There he faced antisemitism in the Department of Economics and decided to return to government service. From 1941 to 1943, Friedman worked on wartime tax policy for the Federal Government. He served as an advisory head to the senior officials of the United States Department of Treasury. In 1942, he advocated the Keynesian policy of taxation, and helped in inventing the payroll withholding tax system.

Academic Career
In 1943, Friedman served in the Division of War Research at Columbia University (headed by W. Allen Wallis and Harold Hotelling). There he spent the rest of the war years working as a mathematics statistician. His job involved looking into the problems of weapons design, military tactics, and metallurgical experiments. In 1945, Friedman submitted his research work on the Incomes from Independent Professional Practice co-authored by Kuznets to Columbia University as part his doctoral dissertation. The university awarded him a Ph.D. in 1946. Friedman spent his academic years from 1945 to 1946 teaching at the University of Minnesota where his friend George Stigler was also employed.

He then accepted an offer to teach economic theory in 1946 at the University of Chicago. It was a position opened by departure of his former professor Jacob Viner to Princeton University. Friedman served the University of Chicago for the next 30 years and helped in building an intellectual community that has been the starting point for many budding Nobel Prize winners. It is collectively known as the Chicago School of Economics.

Friedman later joined the National Bureau of Economic Research. He then initiated the "Workshop in Money and Banking" (the "Chicago Workshop") and promoted the revival of monetary studies. In the latter half of the 1940s, Friedman collaborated with Anna Schwartz and economic historian at the Bureau. In 1963, he co-authored a book with Schwartz, A      Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960.

Between the period 1954 to 1955, Friedman spent the academic year as a Fulbright Visiting Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Later his weekly columns for Newsweek magazine (1966–84) were well acclaimed and were successful in influencing the political and business class.
Friedman also acted as an economic adviser to the Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964, he lost to Lyndon Johns.

Nobel Memorial Prize and Retirement
In 1976 Friedman was honored with the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics "for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy". He retired from the University of Chicago in 1977, at age 65, serving as a teacher for 30 years. He and his wife moved to San Francisco. He was then affiliated with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in 1977. Friedman was part of the television program on the economic and social philosophy, Free to Choose Network for the next three years. In 1980, the ten-part series was broadcasted by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).  Free to Choose also went on to become a bestseller in the non-fiction category in 1980. It was then translated into 14 foreign languages. Friedman also served as the unofficial adviser to Ronald Reagan in 1980 and served in the President's Economic Policy Advisory Board during Reagan’s Administration. In 1988, he was honored with the National Medal of Science along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In the 1980s and 1990s, Friedman frequently appeared on television and wrote editorials. He also traveled extensively to Eastern Europe and China.

Contributions in the Field of Economics
Friedman is known for his quantity theory of money. Friedman co-authored A Monetary History of the United States (1963) with Anna Schwartz and did several regression studies with David Meiselman in the 1960s. He was the main propagator of the monetarist school of economics. He stated that price inflation and the money supply go hand in hand.

Friedman rejected the use of fiscal policy as a tool of demand management. He wrote extensively on the Great Depression and termed the Great Contraction. He also gained prominence for his work on the consumption function, the permanent income hypothesis (1957). His other contributions include his critique of the Phillips curve and the concept of the natural rate of unemployment (1968). He wrote the essay "The Methodology of Positive Economics" in 1953.

Contributions in the Field of Statistics
His most notable statistical contributions are sequential sampling technique which became, in the words of The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 'the standard analysis of quality control inspection.'

Public Policy Positions
He proposed "The Role of Government in Education" in 1955. In 1996 Friedman, along with his wife, founded the Foundation for Educational Choice. He was a major propagator of the volunteer military.
He then served as a member of President Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board in 1981 again in 1988; he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science.

He got married to his economist wife Rose Director in Chicago. They had two childrenJanet and David. Janet grew up to become a philosopher and his son David became an anarcho-capitalist economist.

Friedman died of heart failure at the age of 94 years in San Francisco on November 16, 2006.



He was born on 31st July in Brooklyn, New York


Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


He wrote the essay "The Methodology of Positive Economics".


Friedman co-authored A Monetary History of the United States


Friedman founded The Foundation for Educational Choice


Friedman died at the age of 94 years in San Francisco on November 16

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Pictures of Milton Friedman

Books by Milton Friedman

    Theoretical Framework For Monetary Analysis (NBER Occasional paper, 112)

    by Milton Friedman

    Price Theory

    by Milton Friedman

    Why Government Is the Problem (Essays in Public Policy)

    by Milton Friedman

Books About Milton Friedman

    The LIBERTARIAN READER: Classic & Contemporary Writings from Lao-Tzu to Milton Friedman

    by Thomas Paine,James Madison,Alexis De Tocqueville,John Stuart Mill,H.L. Mencken,Isabel Paterson,Murray Rothbard

    Milton Friedman (Profiles in Economics)

    by Cynthia D. Crain,Dwight R. Lee

    Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History By Milton Friedman

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