Faculty & Research

Gary Becker, 1930-2014

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, 1992

Gary Becker won the prize for extending the domain of microeconomic analysis to include a wide range of human behavior and interaction, including non-market behavior.

In 2013, UCLA's Harry Kreisler interviewed Becker about his intellectual journey.
Watch the interview

Gary Becker moderates the University of Chicago panel "The Work Behind the Prize," which honors and analyzes the work of Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen.
Watch the panel discussion

  • 1992 Nobel Prize
  • About Becker
  • Publications

Becker extended the domain of economic theory to aspects of human behavior which had previously been dealt with by other social science disciplines such as sociology, demography, and criminology. Read the announcement »

Becker is among nine Chicago Booth faculty members to receive the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences since 1968.

Gary S. Becker was 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 pioneered study in the fields of human capital, economics of the family, and economic analysis of crime, discrimination, addiction, and population. He authored 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 was 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 was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. He also was 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 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 recent research focused on habits and addictions, formation of preferences, human capital, and population growth. He was a featured columnist for BusinessWeek and coauthor of the Becker-Posner Blog with Richard Posner, senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

More information on Becker:

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 page.