Nov. 7, 2002
Vol. 22 No. 4

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    Conference will honor Friedman’s economics

    By William Harms
    News Office

    [Milton Friedman]
    Milton Friedman, prior to his retirement from the University.

    The work of University economist Milton Friedman will be celebrated Friday, Nov. 8, in Max Palevsky Cinema, where University faculty members as well as scholars and policy leaders from around the country will speak about Friedman’s contributions and explore topics related to his research.

    The event, “A Conference to Honor Milton Friedman, the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, On the Occasion of his 90th Birthday,” marks a rare return to campus by Friedman, who, with his wife Rose, has lived in California since his retirement in 1977, the year after he received the Nobel Prize in Economics.

    “We are all looking forward to seeing Milton again and getting a chance to recognize what he has meant, and continues to mean, to all of us at Chicago,” said Gary Becker, Nobel Laureate, University Professor in Economics and Sociology, and a conference organizer. “His influence is worldwide, but we also benefited enormously from his insights as our colleague and our teacher.”

    Milton and Rose Friedman met on the Chicago campus in an economics class in 1932 and continued to be associated with the University for much of the succeeding years.

    Friedman received his M.A. in Economics from Chicago in 1933 and continued his research at Columbia University, where he received a Ph.D. after working in policy research positions in Washington and New York.

    He joined the University faculty in 1946 and produced a series of seminal works that established his position as a proponent of free market economics. Among his books are Studies in Quantity Theory of Money (1956), A Theory of the Consumption Function (1957), and with Anna Schwartz, the landmark book A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960.

    His influential views on public policy and individual choice were published in his book, Capitalism and Freedom (1962), and Free to Choose (1980), co-authored by his wife, Rose. In 1998, the University Press published their memoir, Two Lucky People.

    In announcing his Nobel Prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences recognized Friedman’s contribution to understanding monetary policy. The Nobel citation noted: “The widespread debate on Friedman’s theories led to a review of monetary policies pursued by central banks. It is very rare for an economist to wield such influence, directly or indirectly, not only on the direction of scientific research, but also on actual policies.”

    The Friday, Nov. 8 conference will begin at 8:45 a.m. with a welcome from President Randel. A series of lectures and discussions will follow.

    At 9 a.m., John Taylor, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, will speak on “Monetary Policy in the Post-War Economy.”

    At 10:30 a.m., Nobel Laureate James Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, will moderate a “Panel on Incentives and Public Policy.” Joining that panel will be Martin Feldstein, professor of economics at Harvard University and president of the National Bureau of Economic Research; Assar Lindbeck, professor of international economics at the University of Stockholm’s Institute for International Economic Studies; and Robert Moffitt, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University.


    At 1:30 p.m., Lars Peter Hansen, the Homer J. Livingston Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and former Chairman of the Department of Economics, will moderate a discussion of “Friedman’s Theory of Permanent Income,” with participants Costas Meghir, professor of economics at University College London, and Thomas Sargent, professor of economics at New York University.

    At 3 p.m., a session will examine “Depression and Recovery,” with a talk by Ben Bernanke, a member of the Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System. Robert Lucas, the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, will moderate a discussion that will include Anna Schwartz, a member of the research staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research.