Gary Stanley Becker (2 December 1930 - 3 May 2014) 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 was one of the first economists to branch into what were traditionally considered topics that belonged to sociology, including racial discrimination, crime, family organization and drug addiction (see rational addiction). He was known for arguing that many different types of human behavior can be seen as rational and utility maximizing. His approach included altruistic behavior of human behavior by defining individuals' utility appropriately. He was also among the foremost exponents of the study of human capital. Becker was also credited with the "rotten kid theorem."
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gary Becker" as of 22 Mar 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.