Gary Becker Wins the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Congratulations to my friend and colleague Gary Becker who will receive the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. He’ll have to find a place in his trophy cabinet, which already has a Nobel Prize, a National Medal of Science, the John Bates Clark Medal, and sixteen honorary doctorates.

No economist of Becker’s generation has had such a profound influence both inside and outside the profession. It is worth noting that when he first began doing some of his seminal research many years ago, on subjects like marriage and racism, he was looked down upon in the profession for straying too far outside the lines of what was considered normal, worthwhile research.

For more on Gary Becker, see this interesting autobiographical sketch, his wife Guity’s reflections on meeting Gary, and my own experiences with Gary.

Leave A Comment

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

 

COMMENTS: 34

View All Comments »
  1. Kevin says:

    Gary Becker and Judge Richard Posner run a blog, two posts every Sunday on the same topic.

    http://www.becker-posner-blog.com

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  2. Kevin says:

    Gary Becker and Judge Richard Posner run a blog, two posts every Sunday on the same topic.

    http://www.becker-posner-blog.com

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  3. Eric Crampton says:

    Wikipedia says Friedman (1988) and Hayek (1991) also won the prize — excellent company! But, Galbraith won in 1946 and 2000. Hmm. There seem to be party effects here…Republicans more willing to give the prize to economists at all, and Democrats only willing to give it to Galbraith. Have I missed anybody?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  4. Eric Crampton says:

    Wikipedia says Friedman (1988) and Hayek (1991) also won the prize — excellent company! But, Galbraith won in 1946 and 2000. Hmm. There seem to be party effects here…Republicans more willing to give the prize to economists at all, and Democrats only willing to give it to Galbraith. Have I missed anybody?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  5. Ferdinand E. Banks says:

    When I read the information about Gary Becker above I’m tempted to say what a man, what a scholar, what a credit to his university and the profession. Then I remember things like the talk he gave at Uppsala University when he was awarded the Nobel, his unusable economics/microeconomics textbook, and a statement by someone in Stockholm or Prague – I don’t remember – saying that trying to get some sense out of that gentleman was a waste of time.

    It’s hard to remain impressed by economics.One of Mr Becker’s colleagues – Arnold Harberger – gave a talk at the Australian Graduate School of Management that was strictly looney-tune, and when the Nobel Institute had some sort of anniversary, Milton Friedman used that opportunity to sprout bunkum that had the real scientists shaking their heads in amazement. The fantastic thing about that gig though was the presence of Kenneth Arrow in the audience: Arrow in the audience and Friedman in the front of the room saying every silly thing that came into his head. A perfect sketch of academic economics in action.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  6. Ferdinand E. Banks says:

    When I read the information about Gary Becker above I’m tempted to say what a man, what a scholar, what a credit to his university and the profession. Then I remember things like the talk he gave at Uppsala University when he was awarded the Nobel, his unusable economics/microeconomics textbook, and a statement by someone in Stockholm or Prague – I don’t remember – saying that trying to get some sense out of that gentleman was a waste of time.

    It’s hard to remain impressed by economics.One of Mr Becker’s colleagues – Arnold Harberger – gave a talk at the Australian Graduate School of Management that was strictly looney-tune, and when the Nobel Institute had some sort of anniversary, Milton Friedman used that opportunity to sprout bunkum that had the real scientists shaking their heads in amazement. The fantastic thing about that gig though was the presence of Kenneth Arrow in the audience: Arrow in the audience and Friedman in the front of the room saying every silly thing that came into his head. A perfect sketch of academic economics in action.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  7. Angeline Duopu says:

    No matter what a person does, people will still have something bad to say about you just like they did to Gary Becker. He was looked down upon by many people when he started his talk about marriages and racism. I reconmand him for his high work he made a difference.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  8. Angeline Duopu says:

    No matter what a person does, people will still have something bad to say about you just like they did to Gary Becker. He was looked down upon by many people when he started his talk about marriages and racism. I reconmand him for his high work he made a difference.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0