Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I
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Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I

Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Volume I contains original biographical profiles of many of the most important and influential economists from the seventeenth century to the present day. These inform the reader about their lives, works and impact on the further development of the discipline. The emphasis is on their lasting contributions to our understanding of the complex system known as the economy. The entries also shed light on the means and ways in which the functioning of this system can be improved and its dysfunction reduced. Each Handbook can be read individually and acts as a self-contained volume in its own right. It can be purchased separately or as part of a three-volume set.
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Chapter 106: Milton Friedman (1912–2006)

Christian Philipp Schröder and Peter Spahn


Life Milton Friedman was born in Brooklyn, New York, on 31 July 1912, the fourth child of Jewish immigrants from today’s Ukraine. At 13 months old, his family moved to New Jersey, where Friedman spent his youth in school and helping out at the family’s store. While his parents never attracted great wealth – his father was a jobber commuting to New York and, at some point, a merchant, his mother led a few attempts at small businesses run from their home – they managed to keep the family solvent, placed a high value on education and probably gave Milton his perspective of a producer in a competitive environment when talking about the economy or politics. After high school, he went to Rutgers University and completed his undergraduate studies of mathematics and economics in 1932. Under the influence of the Great Depression, Friedman decided to further pursue economics. He was granted a scholarship at the University of Chicago, where he met his future wife Rose. Having already spent a year at Columbia University in his second year of graduate studies, he returned there in 1945 to receive his PhD. In spite of his difficult economic background, Friedman always regarded and admired a market economy as the only social order capable of combining personal freedom with individual as well as collective prosperity. Nevertheless, his view on US capitalism was still differentiated: after holding a research position at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), he worked at the Treasury and helped introduce an...

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