Portal:Business and economics/Selected article/March 2007

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Milton Friedman

The Chicago school of economics is a school of thought favoring the ideas of free-market economics, and rational expectations that have been put in practice and disseminated through the teaching of the University of Chicago. The leaders were Nobel laureates George Stigler and Milton Friedman (pictured).

It is associated with neoclassical price theory and free market libertarianism, refutation and rejection of Keynesianism in favor of monetarism (until the 1980s, when it turned to rational expectations), and rejection of regulation of business in favor of laissez-faire. In terms of methodology the stress is on "positive economics"--that is, empirically based studies using statistics, with less stress on theory and more on data. The school is noted for its very wide range of topics, from regulation to marriage, slavery and demography, that it studies.

The term was coined in the 1950s to refer to economists teaching in the Economics Department at the University of Chicago, and closely related academic areas at the University such as the Graduate School of Business and the Law School. They met together in frequent intense discussions that helped set a group outlook on economic issues, based on price theory.

The school of thought is not the same as the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago, widely considered one of the world’s foremost economics departments, having fielded more Nobel Prize winners and John Bates Clark medalists in economics than any other university. Only some, but not a majority, of the professors in the economics department are considered part of the school of thought.