Gary S. Becker won the 1992 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences "for having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behavior and interaction, including non-market behavior." He also is the Rose-Marie and Jack R. Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a Research Associate of the Economics Research Center at the National Opinion Research Center, and an associate member of the Institute of Fiscal and Monetary Policy for the Ministry of Finance in Japan.
Becker has pioneered study in the fields of human capital, economics of the family, and economic analysis of crime, discrimination, addiction, and population. He is the author of more than 12 books and more than 50 articles.
Becker completed his undergraduate work summa cum laude in mathematics at Princeton University, where he "accidentally took a course in economics" as a freshman and was "greatly attracted by the mathematical rigor of a subject that dealt with social organization." He earned a master's degree and a PhD from the University of Chicago, where he was inspired by Milton Friedman. His doctorate was awarded in 1955. Becker also holds honorary degrees from several institutions, including Princeton University, Harvard University, Columbia University, and Hitoshibashi University in Japan. He was an assistant professor in economics at the University of Chicago from 1954 to 1957, then taught at Columbia University from 1957 to 1969, before he returned to Chicago.
Becker is a founding member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow in the American Statistical Association, the Econometric Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. He also is a member of the American Economic Association, of which he was president in 1987. A long-time faculty member of the University of Chicago, Becker joined the Chicago Booth in 2002.
In 1967, Becker was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, which is given once every two years to the most outstanding American economist under the age of 40; the Seidman Award; and the first social science Award of Merit from the National Institute of Health. He also was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2000 for his work in social policy.
Becker's current research focuses on habits and addictions, formation of preferences, human capital, and population growth. He is a featured columnist for BusinessWeek and coauthor of the Becker-Posner Blog with Richard Posner, senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. The blog can be viewed at http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/.
Human Capital (1964).
A Treatise on the Family (1981).
The Economics of Discrimination (1957).
The Economic Approach to Human Behavior (1976).
With Kevin Murphy, Social Economics (2000).
For a listing of research publications please visit
’s university library listing