Gary Becker


Gary S. Becker

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Gary S. Becker
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1992

Born: 2 December 1930, Pottsville, PA, USA

Died: 3 May 2014, Chicago, IL, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

Prize motivation: “for having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behaviour and interaction, including nonmarket behaviour”

Prize share: 1/1


Gary Becker was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, USA. He was educated at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1955. In 1957-70 he taught at Columbia UnIversity, before returning to the University of Chicago as a professor of economics. From 1985-2004, Becker served as a columnist for the international business news publication Business Week.


Gary Becker applied economic theories and approaches to areas that had previously only been addressed in sociology, demography, and criminology. Becker's starting point was that actors act rationally to maximize specific goals, like advantage or wealth. In the 1950s and 1960s he applied his models in several areas: investments in people's competence (or human capital), behavior in households and families, crime and punishment, and discrimination in labor and other markets.

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