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

Analysis and Commentary

Breakup of Countries: No Economic Disaster

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Monday, December 3, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

Online Courses and the Future of Higher Education

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

Why People Vote and What That Implies

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

What to Do About Illegal Immigration?

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

The High Unemployment Rate and its Social Cost

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Super big gulp

The Nudge that Refreshes?

by Gary S. Beckervia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 26, 2012

Policy makers want to snatch fizzy drinks and fatty foods out of consumers’ hands—for their own good, of course. By Gary S. Becker.

Lifting all Boats

by Gary S. Beckervia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 26, 2012

How the quest for profit improves human welfare. By Gary S. Becker.

Analysis and Commentary

Will Long-Term Growth Slow Down?

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

Good And Bad Teachers: How To Tell The Difference

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Wisdom to Start Again

by Gary S. Beckervia Hoover Digest
Monday, August 13, 2012

Was the Great Recession a “crisis of capitalism”? No. By Gary S. Becker.

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