Gary Becker and the Economic Approach to Human Behavior


This colloquium explored Gary Becker's economic approach to human behavior. Participants contrasted Becker's approach with the more traditional view of economics as a method defined by the problems it tackles, as well as with the behavioral view according to which the failings of rationality play a central role.


Conference Readings

National Bureau of Economic Research. Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries. New York: Columbia University Press, 1960.

Becker, Gary S. "What Limits to Using Money Prices to Buy and Sell?" Becker-Posner Blog, October 21, 2012.

Akerlof, George A. and William T. Dickens. “The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance.” American Economic Review 72, no. 3 (1982): 307-319.

Becker, Gary. “The Economics of Crime.” Cross Sections (1995): 1-16.

Becker, Gary. “An Economic Analysis of the Family.” Economic and Social Research Institute 17 (1986): 1-16.

Becker, Gary. “The Challenge of Immigration – A Radical Solution.” The Institute of Economic Affairs (2011): 19-34.

Becker, Gary. The Economic Approach to Human Behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976.

Becker, Gary. “Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior.” Journal of Political Economy 101, no. 3 (1993): 385-409.

Becker, Gary and Kevin M. Murphy. “The Family and the State.” Journal of Law and Economics 31, no. 1 (April 1988): 1-18.

Becker, Gary S. Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education. Chicago: University Press, 2007.

Becker, Gary S. and Julio J. Elias. “Cash for Kidneys: The Case for a Market for Organs.” The Wall Street Journal (2014): 1-4.

Friedman, Milton. Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962, 2002.

Hayek, F. A. “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” The American Economic Review 35, no. 4 (September 1945): 519-530.

Herfeld, Catherine. “The Potentials and Limitations of Rational Choice Theory: An Interview with Gary Becker.” Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 5, no. 1 (2012): 73-86.

Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013.

Posner, Richard A. “An Economic Theory of Criminal Law.” Columbia Law Review 85, no. 6 (1985): 1193-1231.

Roth, Alvin E. “Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 21, no. 3 (2007): 37-58.

Sandel, Michael J. What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limit of Markets. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.

Thaler, Richard. “Behavioral Economics: Past, Present, and Future.” American Economic Review 106, no. 7 (July 2016): 1577-1600.