Gary Becker


Gary S. Becker

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

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.

To cite this section
MLA style: Gary S. Becker – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Tue. 5 Dec 2023. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Streams during Nobel Week

Watch the 2023 Nobel Prize lectures, the Nobel Prize Concert, Nobel Week Dialogue, the prize award ceremonies in Oslo and Stockholm and Nobel Peace Prize Forum here at
Watch lectures and award ceremonies

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.