Butler graduated from the University of Aberdeen and the University of St Andrews in the 1970s; he has degrees in philosophy, economics and psychology. He worked on pensions and welfare issues for the United States House of Representatives in Washington DC, before returning to the UK where he served as editor of the British Insurance Broker monthly before devoting himself full-time to the Adam Smith Institute, which he helped found in 1977. His brother is Stuart Butler.
Butler and his colleague Madsen Pirie received the 2010 National Free Enterprise Award, given out by the Adam Smith Institute and he is one of Total Politics magazine’s Top 50 Political Influencers in the UK, ranking Number 30 on their list.
He has also won the Freedom Medal of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge in the USA, and is a former Vice-President of the Mont Pelerin Society, an international body of classical liberal economists founded by Friedrich Hayek. He is currently serving on the Executive Committee of the 2012-2014 Mont Pelerin Society Board of Directors.
Butler is author of academic books on the work of three of this century's leading economists: Hayek: His Contribution to the Economic and Political Thought of Our Time; Milton Friedman: A Guide to his Economic Thought; Ludwig von Mises: A Primer; Ludwig von Mises: Fountainhead of the Modern Microeconomics Revolution.
He has written several books on current economic topics, including: The Best Book on the Market; The Rotten State of Britain; The Alternative Manifesto; and (with Robert Schuettinger) Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls.
He is also co-author of a number of books on intelligence and IQ testing.
He has contributed extensively to national magazines and newspapers on subjects ranging from health policy, economic management, taxation and public spending, transport, pensions, and e-government.
Butler has edited or contributed to Adam Smith Institute reports on many policy subjects, such as transport (Private Road Ahead, Roads and the Private Sector, and A Decade of Bus Deregulation), health (The Health of Nations, The Health Alternatives, Health Management Units, Good Health: The Role of HMOs, and Scottish Health Markets), long-term care (Quest for Care, The Future of Long-Term Care, and Extending Care), pensions and welfare (The Future of Pensions, The Fortune Account, The End of the Welfare State, Singapore versus Chile and The Great Escape).
- The Condensed Wealth of Nations, Eamonn Butler, 2011
- Milton Friedman: A Concise Guide to the Ideas and Influence of the Free-Market Economist, Eamonn Butler, 2011
- Austrian Economics: A Primer, Eamonn Butler, 2010
- Ludwig Von Mises: A Primer, Eamonn Butler, 2010
- The Alternative Manifesto, Eamonn Butler, 2010
- Hayek: His Contribution to the Political and Economic Thought of Our Time, Eamonn Butler & Jeff Riggenbach, 2010 (Audiobook)
- Ludwig Von Mises: Fountainhead of the Modern Microeconomics Revolution, Eamonn Butler & Jeff Riggenbach, 2010 (Audiobook)
- The Rotten State of Britain, Eamonn Butler, 2009
- The Best Book on the Market, Eamonn Butler, 2008
- Adam Smith - A Primer, Eamonn Butler, 2007
- The Future of the NHS, Eamonn Butler (ed. Michelle Tempest), 2006
- Simply No Mistake: How the Stakeholder Pension Must Work, Eamonn Butler, 1998
- The Great Escape: Financing the Transition to Funded Welfare, Eamonn Butler, 1997
- Fortune Account, Eamonn Butler & Madsen Pirie, 1995
- The End of the Welfare State, Eamonn Butler & Madsen Pirie, 1994
- Taming the Trade Unions, Eamonn Butler, 1991
- Ludwig Von Mises: Fountainhead of the Modern Microeconomic Revolution, Eamonn Butler, 1988
- The Health Alternatives, Eamonn Butler & Madsen Pirie, 1988
- Good Health: Role of Health Maintenance Organizations, Eamonn Butler, 1986
- Milton Friedman: A Guide to His Economic Thought, Eamonn Butler, 1985
- Hayek, Eamonn Butler, 1985
- Aid by Enterprise, Eamonn Butler & Madsen Pirie, 1984
- Free Ports , Eamonn Butler & Madsen Pirie, 1983
- Private Road Ahead , Eamonn Butler & Gabriel Roth, 1982
- Economy and Local Government, Eamonn Butler & Madsen Pirie, 1981
- Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls, Eamonn Butler & Robert Schuettinger, 1979