Gary Becker receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Gary Becker, the 1992 Nobel Laureate in economics, is to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Here is my first impression of meeting Becker:

The Chicago shopping mall’s parking lot is packed. The white-haired grandfather pulls into a space with a 30-minute limit, not nearly long enough for the leisurely lunch we have planned. “We should be fine here. I don’t think they check that carefully,” he explains in gentle but distinctively Brooklyn tones. I look across at him and ask, “Was that a rational crime?” He doesn’t hesitate for a second. “Yes it was.”

Becker is a huge figure in the world of economics, and a polarising one. (If you read one thing by Becker, read this.) Even many economists are sceptical about his program of applying economics to issues such as discrimination, marriage, crime and addiction. I am a fan, however: sympathetically interpreted his research is very penetrating. It’s a major theme of my forthcoming book, "The Logic of Life".
Funnily enough, Gary Becker sent through his opinion of "The Logic of Life" a couple of weeks ago:

The Logic of Life offers a fascinating discussion of the use of modern economic reasoning to explain humorous and serious aspects of everyday life… I strongly recommend this book, especially to those who want their economics to be fun as well as important.

Give him another medal, that’s what I say.

Addendum: I should have mentioned Gary Becker’s blog with Richard Posner.

The Undercover Economist: a guide

Publishing schedule: Excerpts from "The Undercover Economist" and "Dear Economist", Tim's weekly columns for the FT Magazine, are published on this blog on Saturday mornings.
More about Tim: Tim also writes editorials for the FT, presents Radio 4's More or Less and is the author of "The Undercover Economist" and "The Logic of Life".
Comment: To comment, please register with, which you can do for free here. Please also read our comments policy here.
Contact: Tim's contact address is:
Time: UK time is shown on posts.
Follow: A link to the blog's RSS feeds is at the top of the page.
Follow on Twitter
FT blogs: See the full range of the FT's blogs here.