© The Nobel Foundation
Milton Friedman

American Jewish Recipients of the Nobel Prize

Milton Friedman: Nobel Prize
in Economics Recipient-1976

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Milton Friedman was an American Jewish recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, in 1976, “for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy.”

He was born on July 31, 1912, in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Sarah Ethel (Landau) and Jeno Saul Friedman, who as teens, had immigrated from Austria-Hungry immigrated to the United States. Milton Friedman was the youngest of four children. When he was a year old, his family moved to Rahway, New Jersey. His father died when he was sixteen years old, the same year he graduated from Rahway High School.

Friedman was awarded a scholarship to Rutgers University and he graduated with a B.A. degree in 1932. He accepted a scholarship to study economics at the University of Chicago and he received his M.A. degree in 1933. Friedman received a postgraduate fellowship at Columbia University and received his Ph.D. degree in 1934.

When he was studying at the University of Chicago, Friedman met a fellow economics student, Rose Director. After they resolved their fears about finances, they were married.

Friedman spent a year at the University of Chicago, 1934-1935, working as a research assistant on his Theory of Measurement of Demand. In the summer of 1935, Friedman went to Washington, D.C., to work at the National Resources Committee on the design of a large budget study. In the Fall of 1937, he went to the National Bureau of Economic Research which resulted in a jointly published Incomes from Independent Professional Practice.

In 1941 to 1943, Friedman was at the U.S. Treasury Department working on the World war II tax policy. He then went to Columbia University, 1943-1945, to work with others as a mathematical statistician on the problems of weapon design, military tactics and metallurgical experiments.

After a few years of teaching at the University of Minnesota and the University of Chicago, he was persuaded to rejoin the National Bureau of Economic Research. He took the responsibility for their study of the role of money in the business cycle.

Friedman went to Paris in 1950 as a consultant to the United States governmental agency administering the Marshall Plan. While there, he wrote an essay The Case for Possible Exchange Rates.

In 1954, he spent a year as a Visiting Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, in Cambridge, England. In 1962, he had his book, Capitalism and Freedom, published which sold a half of a million copies.

In 1966, Friedman began writing a tri-weekly column for Newsweek magazine until 1983. He was an economic advisor to President Nixon in the 1960s.

In 1977, Friedman retired from teaching at the University of Chicago. He and his wife traveled extensively and finally settled in San Francisco, California.

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