Gary Becker

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Gary Stanley Becker (born December 2, 1930) is an American economist and a Nobel laureate. Born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Becker earned a B.A. at Princeton University in 1951 and a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1955. He taught at Columbia University from 1957 to 1968, and then returned to The University of Chicago, where he holds joint appointments with the departments of economics, sociology, and the Booth School of Business. Becker is a founding partner of The Greatest Good, a business and philanthropy consulting company. Becker won the John Bates Clark Medal in 1967, was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992, and received the United States' Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.[1]

Becker was one of the first economists to branch into what were traditionally considered topics belonging to sociology, including racial discrimination, crime, family organization, and drug addiction (see Rational addiction). He is known for arguing that many different types of human behavior can be seen as rational and utility maximizing. His approach can include altruistic behavior by defining individuals' utility appropriately. He is also among the foremost exponents of the study of human capital. Becker is also credited with the "rotten kid theorem". He is married to Guity Nashat, a historian of the Middle East whose research interests overlap his own.[2]


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