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Gary Becker was an economist from the United States who earned the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992. He was also awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom and was dubbed “the most influential social scientist in the last 50 years” by the New York Times. He was one of the first economists to apply microeconomic principles to a broader range of human issues such as family structure, drug addiction, racial prejudice, and criminality. He was also a strong supporter of the study of human capital. He was an athletic youngster who, until his mid-teens, was more interested in sports than intellectual studies. He was born to a Jewish family in Pennsylvania and was an athletic boy who was more interested in sports than intellectual activities. Regardless, he was a good student, and when he had to pick between sports and academic activities, he chose academics. He was fascinated by economics and sociology as a young man, having liked mathematics since he was a child. Before starting his academic career, he attended Princeton University and finally received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He was credited with the “rotten kid theorem” for broadening the scope of economic research to include sociological difficulties. His democratic economic analysis is likewise well-known.

Childhood and Adolescence

Gary Stanley Becker was born to a Jewish family in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, on December 2, 1930. He was the youngest of three siblings, with two sisters and one brother. His father owned and operated a little business.

Despite his parents’ lack of education, his father was passionate about financial and political matters. As the elder man’s vision deteriorated, it fell to the little lad to deliver the news to him. Becker’s interest in economics was piqued as a result of this.

Even though he was a strong student, he was more interested in sports than cerebral things as a youngster. When he realized that he could only devote himself to one of these activities, he eventually picked academics over athletics.
In 1951, he graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree. He subsequently went on to the University of Chicago to pursue doctoral studies in economics, where he had the opportunity to take Milton Friedman’s microeconomics course.

He was also exposed to the work of economists like Gregg Lewis, T.W. Schultz, and Aaron Director, who were conducting groundbreaking research in the field at the time. After his third year of graduate school, he became an Assistant Professor at Chicago and received his Ph.D. in 1955.

The career of Gary Becker

In 1957, he accepted a position as a professor at Columbia University. He began a workshop on labor economics and related topics there. After a few years, Jacob Mincer, an economist, joined the Columbia department and became the workshop’s co-director. For economists who studied human capital extensively, this was a very fascinating time.

He co-founded the New Home Economics with Mincer, which was based on Becker’s time allocation theory. This project concentrated on the findings of his family study, which included marriage, divorce, fertility, and social security evaluations.

He returned to the University of Chicago as an economics professor in 1970. By this time, well-known figures such as George Stigler and Harry Johnson had joined the department, creating an energizing atmosphere.
Becker and Stigler collaborated on two works, one on taste stability and the other on early treatment of the principle-agent dilemma, both of which were widely cited.

He was a pioneer in the field of labor economics study. He concentrated on the motivating aspects of human conduct rather than the study of broad economic patterns and expanded the microeconomic analysis to issues normally pertaining to sociology, due to the human element in such research.

Many of the major modern economists of his time did not approve of his unusual working style. Younger economists, on the other hand, were more receptive to including sociological themes in economic study.

After several years of teaching at the Chicago economics department, he was granted a combined post in the sociology department in 1983. He teamed up with James Coleman to start an interdisciplinary faculty seminar on rational choice in the social sciences, which was a huge success.

He authored a monthly column for ‘Business Week’ from 1985 to 2004 in addition to his academic duties and research. In 2004, Becker teamed together with Judge Richard Posner to launch ‘The Becker-Posner Blog,’ a collaborative weblog.

Major Projects of Gary Becker

Gary Becker and Jacob Mincer popularized the term “human capital,” which refers to all of an individual’s knowledge, talents, skills, abilities, experience, intelligence, training, judgment, and wisdom. He is remembered for his in-depth examination of the subject.

He utilized mechanism design and proposed the “rotten kid theorem,” a thought experiment in economics that is one of the most famous theorems in family economics. Even selfish family members, according to the theorem, will act to support one another if their personal incentives are correctly aligned.

Achievements & Awards

In 1992, Gary Becker received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for “expanding the realm of microeconomic analysis to a wide spectrum of human behavior and interaction, including nonmarket behavior.”

Other honors include the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (1997), the National Medal of Science (2000), and the John von Neumann Award (2004).

In 2007, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States.

Personal History and Legacy

Doria Slote was Gary Becker’s first wife, whom he married in 1954. They had two daughters together. In 1970, his wife died, and in 1980, he married Guity Nashat. His second wife was a Middle Eastern historian. Becker had two stepsons as a result of this union.

He died on May 3, 2014, at the age of 83, in Chicago, Illinois, due to complications after surgery.

Gary Becker’s Net Worth

Gary is one of the wealthiest teachers and one of the most popular. Gary Becker’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.