About the Becker Friedman Institute

Frontier research, global impact.

The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) serves as a hub for cutting-edge analysis and research across the entire University of Chicago economics community, uniting researchers from the Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the Law School in an unparalleled effort to uncover new ways of thinking about economics. We put those ideas into action by translating rigorous research into accessible and relevant formats, and proactively disseminating it to key decision-makers around the world. Click here to read the BFI brochure. 

The Challenge

A Critical Time for Economic Research

Policymakers and business leaders often face difficult choices on complex questions. They must navigate a modern world influenced by rapidly evolving technologies, innovative new business practices, and immense demographic and social shifts. Their decisions have far-reaching impacts on issues ranging from economic growth, taxes and financial market regulation, to healthcare and human capital. Principles that have underpinned the global economy for decades, including free trade and economic integration, are also being tested. In an environment in which decision-making is often colored by misperceptions and misunderstanding, government and business leaders often make critical choices without the benefit of cutting edge research that could help improve outcomes.

The Solution

The BFI Approach

Inspired by our namesakes, Nobel Laureates Gary Becker and Milton Friedman, who believed that economic research could help improve the world, the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics works with the Chicago Economics community to turn its evidence-based research into real-world impact. BFI takes a unique approach to bridging the divide between academic researchers and decision-makers in the business community and government by translating and packaging the rigorous work of the Chicago Economics community into accessible formats, and proactively sharing those findings with relevant decision-makers and thought leaders around the globe.

What We Do

BFI brings together researchers from the entire Chicago Economics community, including the the Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the Law School, to foster novel insights on the world’s most difficult economic problems. By leveraging robust data and cutting-edge analytical tools, BFI researchers have the potential to play a significant role in meeting the most difficult challenges facing the global community.

Pioneering Economic Research

Economic issues are rarely one-dimensional. Likewise, the best solutions offer insights from complementary disciplines. By bringing together researchers from the Chicago Economics community, BFI harnesses the power of collaborative thinking aimed at today’s most pressing issues. The BFI Working Paper Series serves as a collective platform for cutting-edge economic research, showcasing the work of UChicago faculty.

To leverage the work of the Chicago Economics community, BFI supports multi-disciplinary research initiatives that focus on some of the most significant economic issues of our time. Each initiative is led by one or more faculty directors and draws from scholars across campus to engage in research, academic workshops and conferences, and other opportunities to share knowledge and provide feedback on innovative research that addresses key global challenges.

Global Impact

To bridge the gap between research and impact, BFI actively delivers its research findings to key audiences in relevant and accessible formats.

Across a range of issues, from health care and education to human capital and climate change, UChicago economists are redefining society’s understanding of critical problems through rigorous, evidence-based research. However, such research bears no fruit if it only exists in an academic vacuum. BFI is equally dedicated to translating cutting-edge inquiry into global impact. This is central to our mission.

To accomplish this imperative, BFI employs an outreach and dissemination strategy to build awareness and demand for UChicago economic research. Essential to this process is fostering additional connections for information sharing, and proactively discovering opportunities for outreach. UChicago platforms in India and China offer unique opportunities for BFI to showcase the work of the Chicago Economics community to global audiences.

Premier Events

Leading voices in economic policy, business, the media, and academia, are showcased at BFI events, revealing how rigorous economic thinking shapes our understanding of the world.

BFI’s robust agenda of academic conferences and workshops have become globally recognized for the caliber and quality of discussion they inspire. Complementing these conferences and workshops is a series of broader public events around timely themes. BFI is committed to outreach programs that connect the general public to UChicago’s scholars and their ideas. A series of conversations that includes keynote speakers from government, the private sector, academia, the nonprofit sector, and the media exposes UChicago faculty, students, and the general public to ways of thinking that can challenge research and, ultimately, sharpen it.

In the same way that BFI encourages collaboration among UChicago schools, it also incorporates the best and brightest ideas from outside academia to challenge assumptions and inspire new ideas. Including the general public in those discussions is an essential part of BFI’s mission to bridge the worlds of academia and decision-making.