Tuesday, May 06, 2014

On Gary S Becker From Obituaries

Chicago Tribune  04/05/2014 In 1992, (Gary) Becker won the Nobel Prize, “for having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behavior and interaction, including non-market behavior.”

“He just pushed economics in so many different directions,” said (Kevin) Murphy, who collaborated with Mr. Becker in research on human capital, education, addiction and the economics of the family.

“He believed that economics was helpful to understanding and improving people’s lives and that’s how he did his research and that’s how he taught.”

Bloomberg  04/05/2014
In a May 2009 post, Becker said the Republican Party had created a “crisis in conservatism” by focusing increasingly on social and military issues.

“I believe that the best way to restore the consistency and attractiveness of the conservative movement,” he wrote, “is for modern conservatism to return to its roots of skepticism toward governmental actions,” which would mean “more flexible approaches toward hot-button issues like gays in the military, gay marriage, abortions, stem-cell research.”

In July 2004, he wrote: “Along with many others of my generation, I was a socialist when I started my university studies.

But my first few economics courses taught me the power of competition, markets, and incentives, and I quickly became a classical liberal. That means someone who believes in the power of individual responsibility, a market economy, and a crucial but limited role of government.” 

Among his findings: welfare payments to unmarried mothers in the U.S. discouraged marriage and encouraged fertility among poorer women.

He extended his theory of rational behavior to criminals, looking at how they might balance the benefits of a successful heist against the risk of capture and punishment.

He said his interest in crime stemmed from his own experience in New York City, weighing whether he should risk a ticket by parking illegally.

WSJ  04/05/2014
 "Along with others, I have tried to pry economists away from narrow assumptions about self interest. Behavior is driven by a much richer set of values and preferences."

Postscript 10/05/2014
For more information on Prof Gary Becker


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