Gary Becker has passed away aged 83.
“I was interested in social problems but felt that economics had the tools by which to handle these long-term interests and social questions,” Becker told The Associated Press when he became a Nobel Laureate in 1992.
Becker was cited for applying economic analysis to a wide range of human behavior and interactions. The economics and sociology professor studied issues such as marriage and divorce, crime and punishment, addiction and household decisions.
Before Becker began publishing his ideas in the late 1950s, most academics considered habit and often emotion or irrationality as the primary factors in human behavior such as having children or committing crimes.
The key to his research is the theory that human behavior follows the same rational principles, whether it involves a household, a business or an organization. Though greeted initially with skepticism, his work influenced sociology, demography and criminology.