Environmental Economist Appointed Director of Becker-Friedman Institute

Milton Friedman Professor Michael Greenstone served as Obama’s Chief Economist.

By Emily Feigenbaum

Professor Michael Greenstone, an environmental economist who worked in the Obama administration, will be the new head of the Becker-Friedman Institute, the University announced over winter break. 

Greenstone is the Milton Friedman Professor of Economics and the Director of the Energy Policy Institute of at Chicago (EPIC). Much of Greenstone’s recent research has focused on energy and growing markets. He recently published a paper demonstrating the benefits fracking has on the communities surrounding fracking sites. Greenstone is a public advocate of some forms of environmental regulation. Last month, he co-wrote an op-ed in The New York Times titled “Donald Trump Should Know: This Is What Climate Change Costs Us.” 

Greenstone also served as chief economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors from 2009–10. From 2010–13 he was director of the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, and he remains on its advisory board. 

Greenstone will maintain his title as director of EPIC after he assumes his new role on July 1. Lars Peter Hansen, the David Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and a 2013 Nobel Laureate, and Kevin Murphy, the George J. Stigler Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, currently co-chair the Institute.  

“Becker and Friedman were giants in helping to shape understanding of the world, both within economics and more broadly. It is an honor to lead an institute that aims to carry on the tradition and high bar for excellence that they have set for Chicago economics,” Greenstone said in a statement released by the University of Chicago News Office.