In this episode, Roberts and Edward Lazear share their recollections of recently deceased Nobel laureate Gary Becker.

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?

Going Deeper

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?

Extra Credit:

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?