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

Analysis and Commentary

Why the Dismal Science Deserves Federal Funding

by Gary S. Becker, James Heckmanvia Wall Street Journal
Friday, August 10, 2012

The federal deficit has ballooned in recent years, and even larger deficits are coming due to the expected growth of entitlement spending. There is little disagreement among members of both political parties that federal spending should be reduced.

Analysis and Commentary

Time for China’s One-Child Policy to Go

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

Is Banking Unusually Corrupt?

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

Is Raising Marginal Tax Rates on Higher Income Individuals a Good Idea?

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

The Worst Recovery Since World War II

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

The Health Care Mandate: If It Seems Like a Tax, It Is a Tax

by Gary S. Beckervia Advancing a Free Society
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

Why are Americans More Religious than Western Europeans?

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

Controls Over Consumer Choices

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Monday, June 18, 2012

Although [Mayor Bloomberg's] proposal makes little sense, and could even increase the consumption of these drinks, it does raise once again the question of how far governments should go in interfering with consumer choices?...

Analysis and Commentary

Is Further Quantitative Easing by the Fed Warranted?

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, June 10, 2012

I urge the Fed to resist this pressure mainly because further Fed easing under present circumstance will do little stimulating...

Analysis and Commentary

Profits, Competition, and Social Welfare

by Gary S. Beckervia Becker-Posner Blog
Sunday, June 3, 2012

The main reason to be concerned about the attacks on competitive capitalism is that it has delivered during the past 150 years so much to all strata’s of society, including the poor...