Gary Becker to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom
Posted by Eliot Weinstein on October 31, 2007
Gary S. Becker will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States, on November 5. Becker is a Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, the 1992 winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, and the unofficial leader of the modern-day “Chicago School” approach to economics.
On the somewhat ominous date of the 5th of November, George W. Bush will award the Medal of Freedom to Becker, retired Republican Congressional leader Henry Hyde, Cuban dissident Oscar Elias Biscet, Human Genome Project director Francis Collins, C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, civil rights leader Benjamin Hooks, and To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee.
Becker is one of the most-cited living economists, and he teaches the (in)famous University of Chicago graduate Price Theory class, (which he took over upon the retirement of his Ph.D. adviser and colleague Milton Friedman). Over his prolific career, Becker was responsible (virtually singlehandedly) for creating four new subfields of his discipline: the economics of discrimination, the economics of human capital, the economics of marriage and families, and the economics of crime. It is often said that more dissertation topics have been inspired by Becker’s footnotes than from the main text of any other economist, barring the founders such as Marshall, Keynes, and Samuelson.
Becker currently teaches graduate economics courses at the University of Chicago, while working part-time as a Senior Fellow for the Hoover Institution at Stanford. He also writes weekly point-counterpoint essays with law professor and US 7th Circuit Appellate Judge Richard Posner, posted on the Becker-Posner Blog.
UPDATE: Here is Becker receiving the medal from President Bush (photo by Eric Draper from www.whitehouse.gov)
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