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
Biography: 

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

Illegal Immigration

by Gary S. Beckervia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I agree with Posner that illegal immigrants are generally productive members of the labor force, and make relatively little use of taxpayer-funded programs, such as Medicaid and other welfare programs.

Analysis and Commentary

Illegal Immigration

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, February 19, 2012

Beyond amnesty, what can be done to discourage further illegal immigration to America, and reduce the number of illegal immigrants who are already here?...

Is Capitalism in Crisis?

by Gary S. Beckervia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, February 13, 2012

Capitalism in Crisis is the title of a long series of articles in the Financial Times by many participants.

Analysis and Commentary

Is Capitalism in Crisis?

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, February 12, 2012

...[W]hile certain aspects of the economic organization of capitalist countries like the United States should be changed to reduce the chances of future severe recessions, it remains true that economies which are competitive and capitalistic have the best prospects for sizable long-run economic growth...

Analysis and Commentary

Suicide and its Assistance

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, February 5, 2012

Just as modern societies do not prevent a person from marrying someone disliked by his parents, I see little reason why society should interfere on these ground with decisions about suicide...

Suicide and its Assistance

by Gary S. Beckervia Advancing a Free Society
Sunday, February 5, 2012

Let me state at the outset that I believe a free society should allow the right to end one’s life through suicide. A suicide decision is not made lightly since the great majority of people cling to life even under the most dreadful circumstances.

Wealth and Income Taxes on the Rich

by Gary S. Beckervia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, January 30, 2012

We are resuming our weekly entries. Sorry for any inconvenience we caused.

Analysis and Commentary

Wealth and Income Taxes on the Rich

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Occupy Wall Street movement has not expressed clear goals, but it does want higher taxes on the “rich"...

The Foolishness of Blaming the Private Sector

by Gary S. Beckervia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 23, 2012

Politicians were eager to cry “market failure” when the deeper problem was, and remains, government failure. By Gary S. Becker.

Does American Imprison Too Many People?

by Gary S. Beckervia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, December 5, 2011

My discussion of this important subject will elaborate answers to the following questions:

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