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Milton Harris studies corporate finance and governance and the economics of contracts, especially corporate financial contracts. His current interests include firm cash holdings and bank regulation. Harris is a fellow of the Econometric Society and of the American Finance Association, and is a former president of the Western Finance Association and the Society for Financial Studies.  He is also a senior fellow of the Finance Theory Group.

Harris has held permanent academic appointments at the J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and Carnegie Mellon University, and visiting appointments at Stanford University, the University of Haifa in Israel, and Tel Aviv University in Israel.

After graduating from Rice University in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics, Harris worked as a mathematician for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory until 1971. In 1973, he earned a master's degree in economics from the University of Chicago and received his PhD in 1974 with a dissertation entitled "Optimal Planning Under Transaction Costs and General Equilibrium." He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1987.

When not working, Harris is an avid skier and pursues his interest in photography.