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Born on this day
George Richards Minot
George Minot was an American medical researcher and winenr of a Nobel Prize.
49th week in year
2 December 2020

Important personalitiesBack

Gary Stanley Becker2.12.1930

Wikipedia (15 Jan 2014, 14:20)

Gary Stanley Becker (born December 2, 1930) is an American economist. He is a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Chicago and a professor at the Booth School of Business. He has important contributions to the family economics branch within the economics. Neoclassical analysis of family within the family economics is also called new home economics. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992 and received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. He is currently a Rose-Marie and Jack R. Anderson senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, located at Stanford University.

Becker was one of the first economists to branch into what were traditionally considered topics belonging to sociology, including racial discrimination, crime, family organization, and drug addiction (see rational addiction). He is known for arguing that many different types of human behavior can be seen as rational and utility maximizing. His approach can include altruistic behavior by defining individuals' utility appropriately. He is also among the foremost exponents of the study of human capital. Becker is also credited with the "rotten kid theorem." He is married to Guity Nashat, a historian of the Middle East whose research interests overlap his own.


Born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Becker earned a B.A. at Princeton University in 1951 and a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1955 with thesis titled The economics of racial discrimination. He taught at Columbia University from 1957 to 1968, and then returned to the University of Chicago. Becker is a founding partner of The Greatest Good, a business and philanthropy consulting company. Becker won the John Bates Clark Medal in 1967. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1972. Becker also received the National Medal of Science in 2000.

A political conservative, he wrote a monthly column for Business Week from 1985 to 2004, alternating with liberal Princeton economist Alan Blinder. In December 2004, Becker started a joint weblog with Judge Richard Posner entitled The Becker-Posner Blog.

Nobel Memorial Prize

According to the Prize in Economic Sciences citation, his work can be categorized into four areas:
- investments in human capital
- behavior of the family (or household), including distribution of work and allocation of time in the family
- crime and punishment
- discrimination on the markets for labor and goods.

Becker's lecture, "Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior," subsequently published in the Journal of Political Economy, reviews his four key areas of research. He explains that his framework of analysis is not a traditional self-interested motivation but an analysis based on a set of assumptions and individual preferences. Agents are maximizing welfare, which is based on individual conception constrained by income, time, and imperfect memory and calculation capabilities. Much of his research focuses on the impact of the rising value of time as a result of economic growth.

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