Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Gary S. Becker
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."
Contribution: 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.
Prize share: 1/1
Gary Becker applied economic theories and approaches to areas that had previously only been addressed in sociology, demography, and criminology. His 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.