Gary S. Becker

Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Philosophical Society
Econometric Society (elected fellow)
National Academy of Education
National Academy of Sciences

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.

Becker is recognized for his expertise in human capital, economics of the family, and economic analysis of crime, discrimination, and population.

His research focused on habits and addictions, formation of preferences, human capital, and population growth.

Becker wrote commentary for The Becker-Posner Blog. He served as an economic policy adviser for the Dole presidential campaign in 1996. He received the National Medal of Science in 2000 for his work in social policy and was the 2004 recipient of the Jacob Mincer Prize for lifetime achievement in the field of labor economics.

Becker's publications include Uncommon Sense: Economic Insights, from Marriage to Terrorism (2009) coauthored with Richard Posner, and (with Guity Nashat) The Economics of Life (McGraw Hill, 1997) and Accounting for Tastes (Harvard University Press, 1996). He is the author of numerous other books, including the seminal work Human Capital (Columbia University Press, 1964; 3rd edition, 1993), which was awarded the prestigious W.S.Woytinskty Award in 1964.

In addition to being a Nobel laureate, Becker was a recipient of the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He held honorary degrees from a dozen universities, including Hebrew University in Jerusalem (doctor philosophae honoris causa), Knox College, Illinois (doctor of laws), Princeton University (doctor of humane letters), Columbia University (doctor of humane letters), and the University of Illinois at Chicago (doctor of arts).

Becker was a professor at the University of Chicago from 1954 to 1957 and at Columbia University from 1957 to 1968. In 1968–1969 he was a Ford Foundation visiting professor of economics at the University of Chicago before joining the Department of Economics there in 1970.

Becker received an AB (summa cum laude) from Princeton University in 1951, an AM from the University of Chicago in 1952, and a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1955.

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Recent Commentary

Capitalism's Nine (and More) Lives

by Gary S. Beckervia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Like Karl Marx, present-day doomsayers hail every crisis at the death knell of capitalism—and, like Marx, they're wrong.

Analysis and Commentary

Cash for Kidneys: The Case for a Market for Organs

by Gary S. Beckervia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In 2012, 95,000 American men, women and children were on the waiting list for new kidneys, the most commonly transplanted organ. Yet only about 16,500 kidney transplant operations were performed that year.

Analysis and Commentary

Is the US in For Secular Stagnation: Déjà Vu All Over Again

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Monday, January 20, 2014
Analysis and Commentary

Competition and the Efficiency of Bureaucracies

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Analysis and Commentary

Recent Mexican Reforms and the Impact on the United States

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Analysis and Commentary

Redistribution and the Well-Being of the Poor

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Analysis and Commentary

The Consequences of Abandoning China’s One Child Policy

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, December 22, 2013

Welcome to the new Becker-Posner Blog, maintained by the University of Chicago Law School.

Analysis and Commentary

How to Control Entitlements, Especially Medicare

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Monday, December 16, 2013
Analysis and Commentary

Minimum Wages, Employment, and Inequality

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Analysis and Commentary

How 'Debt Ceilings' Increase Debt

by Gary S. Becker, Edward Paul Lazearvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The recent wrangling in Washington over the debt ceiling, with both sides promising to return to battle early next year, never got around to considering this proposition: Maybe debt ceilings are a bad idea, because they may lead to increased spending.