Received the Nobel Prize in economic sciences in 1992, Becker was cited for breaking ground by applying economic analysis to a wide range of human behavior and interactions. At the time he became a Nobel Laureate, Becker said he felt "economics had the tools" to handle social questions.
Gary Stanley Becker was born on Dec. 2, 1930, in the coal-mining city of Pottsville, Pa., where his father owned a small business, and moved with his parents, his brother and two sisters, to Brooklyn as a child. There, he took an interest in the stock market and financial news, which he read to his father, who was losing his sight.
He went on to attend Princeton University, graduating in 1951. After taking graduate degrees at the University of Chicago, he moved to Columbia University, where he became a professor of economics at age 30. He returned to Chicago as a visiting faculty member but was persuaded by Professor Stigler to stay.
Beginning in 1973, he was also affiliated with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where he became a senior fellow in 1990 and spent a few weeks each year. He summered on Cape Cod.
Professor Becker’s first wife, Doria Slote, died in 1969.
He is survived by his wife, Guity Nashat, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern history at the University of Illinois at Chicago; two daughters from his first marriage, Catherine Becker and Judy Becker; two stepsons, Cyrus Claffey and Michael Claffey; a sister, Natalie Becker; two step-grandchildren; and two grandchildren.more » « less