Continuing Conversation... Edward Lazear on Becker
By Amy Willis
In this week’s episode, Roberts and Edward Lazear share their recollections of recently deceased Nobel laureate Gary Becker. We’d like to hear what you think of Becker’s work, and encourage you to join the conversation.
Check Your Knowledge:
1. What is the “discrimination premium?” How does the number of people in a group influence the discrimination premium?
2. What is the “rotten kid theorem,” and how does it explain parents’ differential treatment of siblings?
3. A constant theme in this conversation is how controversial Becker’s work was initially, compared to how generally accepted it is today. What do you think accounts for this change? To what extent was Becker a harbinger of change versus a beneficiary of change?
4. Becker’s work suggests that if you want to change population growth rates, the best thing to do is to educate that nation’s girls. Why is this the case, and to what extent do you think this feasible?
5. In Becker’s Nobel address, he outlines his application of economic analysis to social issues. Which of the examples he presents have effected the most change? What area(s) of human behavior should be the focus of scholars employing Becker’s style of analysis today, and why?