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.”
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
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
"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."
For more information on Prof Gary Becker