The Gary Becker Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics was established at the University of Chicago in June 2011 as a collaborative, cross-disciplinary center for research in economics. It brought together the activities of two formerly independent economic research centers at the University: the Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics and the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory, founded by Richard O. Ryan, MBA ’66.
The institute is named for two globally influential economists: Gary S. Becker (1930–2014) and his mentor, Milton Friedman (1912-2006), both winners of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. While they pursued different scholarly paths, Becker and Friedman shared a fundamental belief that economics, grounded in empirical research, is a powerful tool to understand human behavior. While Friedman is known for his lasting contributions to macroeconomics and monetary economics, Becker is recognized for extending microeconomic analysis to a wide range of fields and topics.
A collaboration of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Law School, Department of Economics, and the Harris School for Public Policy, the Institute builds bridges across disciplines and subfields of economics. Its research conferences, workshops, and initiatives bring economists and scholars from related fields together to share perspectives and refine ideas. The institute also sponsors an active visiting scholars program and offers programs and support for students and promising young researchers.
The institute supports research initiatives in traditional Chicago strengths such as price theory, law and economics, and human capital, as well as topical inquiries into important policy issues such as fiscal imbalance, systemic risk, policy uncertainty, and economics of the family, and newer areas like field experiments in economics.
The institute is cochaired by Lars Peter Hansen, a 2013 Nobel laureate who guides the intellectual agenda, and Kevin M. Murphy, a distinguished microeconomist who focuses on public outreach activities and development. An Institute Research Council of distinguished faculty from collaborating university units advises the cochairs.