Professor of economics at the University of Chicago, 1992 Nobel Prize winner in Economics
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  • Gary Becker

    Gary Stanley Becker (2 December 1930 – 3 May 2014)[1] was an American economist and empiricist. He was a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Chicago. Described as "the most important social scientist in the past 50 years" by The New York Times, Becker was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992 and received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. A 2011 survey of economics professors named Becker their favorite living economist over the age of 60, followed by Ken Arrow and Robert Solow.


    Becker, Gary S. (1930-2014), by Aaron Steelman, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Gary S. Becker is a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Chicago. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 1992 for 'having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behavior and interaction, including nonmarket behavior.' Becker received his undergraduate degree in 1951 from Princeton University and his PhD in 1955 from the University of Chicago. He was an assistant professor at Chicago from 1954 to 1957, before moving to Columbia University and the National Bureau of Economic Research."
    Related Topics: Children, Labor
    Gary Stanley Becker (1930-2014), The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
    Includes picture and list of selected works
    "Gary S. Becker received the 1992 Nobel Prize in economics for 'having extended the domain of economic theory to aspects of human behavior which had previously been dealt with—if at all—by other social science disciplines such as sociology, demography and criminology.' Becker’s unusually wide applications of economics started early. In 1955 he wrote his doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago on the economics of discrimination. Among other things, Becker successfully challenged the Marxist view that discrimination helps the person who discriminates."


    2 Dec 1930, Gary Stanley Becker, in Pottsville, Pennsylvania


    3 May 2014, in Chicago, Illinois


    Gary S. Becker - Biographical -
    Autobiography provided by Becker at the time of his 1992 award
    "I was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, a little coal mining town in Eastern Pennsylvania, where my father owned a small business. ... However, when I was four or five we moved to Brooklyn, New York ... I began to lose interest in economics during my senior (third) year because it did not seem to deal with important social problems. I contemplated transferring to sociology, but found that subject too difficult. Fortunately, I decided to go to the University of Chicago for graduate work in economics. My first encounter in 1951 with Milton Friedman's course on microeconomics renewed my excitement about economics."

    Awards Received

    1992 Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
    Includes autobiography, prize lecture and press release announcing the award


    Hoover Institution, Rose-Marie and Jack R. Anderson Senior Fellow
    Mont Pelerin Society, President, 1990-92

    Web Pages

    Gary S. Becker
    Professor Becker's page at the University of Chicago; includes autobiography, summaries of books authored, links to his Business Week articles, working papers, and information on the Nobel Prize and two economics courses he taught
    Gary S. Becker | Hoover Institution
    Includes photograph, biographical summary, areas of expertise, awards, honors and articles
    "Awards and Honors:
    John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association (1967)
    National Association for Business Economics Adam Smith Award (1991)
    Nobel Prize (1992)
    National Medal of Science (2000)
    Jacob Mincer Prize (2004)
    Presidential Medal of Freedom (2007)
    Bradley Prize (2008) ...
    Gary S. Becker passed away on May 3, 2014. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science in 1992, and was the Rose-Marie and Jack R. Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and University Professor of Economics and Sociology at the University of Chicago."


    The Becker-Posner Blog
    Authored jointly with Judge Richard A. Posner, from Dec 2004 to May 2014


    On Autobiography, by Walter Block, 4 Dec 2002
    Autobiographical, recounts how Block met Ayn Rand and later Murray Rothbard and how he progressed from libertarian minarchism to anarcho-capitalism; and pleads other libertarians to write "how they first were introduced to this philosophy"
    "My first year as a graduate student at Columbia University was a disaster. ... One bright spot in my first year was Professor Gary Becker. His insistence on applying economics to all sorts of weird things it had not been applied to before (family, marriage, crime, discrimination, etc.) seemed like a breath of fresh air. However, while he had a reputation as a free enterpriser, I was disappointed at the level of his moderation. I remember once arguing with him that the minimum wage should be abolished. His view, in contrast, was that it should be frozen in place, and then inflation would dissipate the real value of it. "


    Interview with Gary Becker, The Region, Jun 2002
    Topics include the economics of crime, economics and law, banking discrimination, economic education, social security, behavioral economics, sociology, career choices and moral hazards
    "I was coming down for an oral exam at Columbia University ... it's New York City, so it's not easy to find a parking place. Columbia had no parking for its faculty in those days, so either you parked illegally or you went into a parking lot. ... Then I began to see a little better how to set up the problem. I set it up so that society was trying to minimize the expected loss from criminals, taking account of the damage done by the crime, cost of policing, cost of taking somebody to trial, cost of punishment, how much deterrence there would be if criminals expected greater punishment or lesser punishment, and so on."

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gary Becker" as of 7 Aug 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.