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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.