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Professor of economics at the University of Chicago, 1992 Nobel Prize winner in Economics
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.


UpdBecker, Gary S. (1930-), by Aaron Steelman, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical and bibliographical 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


Monopoly, Competition, and Educational Freedom, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Mar 2000
Discusses monopolies and competition in the religious, postal delivery and educational realms and criticizes a speech by Gary Becker about competition in religion and education
[A] recent speech entitled "Competition" ... was delivered to the ... Heritage Foundation by Gary S. Becker, the winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science in 1992 ... Becker began by comparing monopolies with free markets, and concluded:
I believe that this appreciation of the value and benefits of competition, and the disadvantages of monopoly, ranks among the very greatest contributions toward understanding how economies and societies can better serve the interests of the vast majority of people.
Two primary examples that Becker used in his analysis were religion and education.
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; reprinted in Block's I Chose Liberty (2010), chapter 9
One bright spot in my first year [as a graduate student at Columbia University] 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, by Gary Becker, Douglas Clement, The Region, Jun 2002
Topics discussed include the economics of crime, economics and law, banking discrimination, economic education, social security, behavioral economics, sociology, career choices and moral hazards
Gary Becker's singular contribution has been to broaden the reach of economics into spheres it previously ignored and to thereby transform both those fields and economics itself. Crime, the family, addiction, preference formation and discrimination are a few of the areas to which he has applied the analytic tools of microeconomics ...
Our interview with Gary Becker is fittingly broad, ranging from his views on moral hazard in banking, to the intriguing genesis of his work on the economics of crime, and the (mostly) rational decision-making that led to his becoming an economist.

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.