Mr. Becker's work confronts the economic effects of discrimination in the market place because of race, religion, sex, color, social class, personality, or other non-pecuniary considerations. He demonstrates that discrimination in the market place by any group reduces their own real incomes as well as those of the minority.
The original edition of The Economics of Discrimination was warmly received by economists, sociologists, and psychologists alike for focusing the discerning eye of economic analysis upon a vital social problem—discrimination in the market place.
"This is an unusual book; not only is it filled with ingenious theorizing but the implications of the theory are boldly confronted with facts. . . . The intimate relation of the theory and observation has resulted in a book of great vitality on a subject whose interest and importance are obvious."—M.W. Reder, American Economic Review
"The author's solution to the problem of measuring the motive behind actual discrimination is something of a tour de force. . . . Sociologists in the field of race relations will wish to read this book."—Karl Schuessler, American Sociological Review
In no time, the blog had established a wide readership and reputation as a reliable source of lively, thought-provoking commentary on current events, its pithy and profound weekly essays highlighting the value of economic reasoning when applied to unexpected topics. Uncommon Sense gathers the most important and innovative entries from the blog, arranged by topic, along with updates and even reconsiderations when subsequent events have shed new light on a question. Whether it’s Posner making the economic case for the legalization of gay marriage, Becker arguing in favor of the sale of human organs for transplant, or even the pair of scholars vigorously disagreeing about the utility of collective punishment, the writing is always clear, the interplay energetic, and the resulting discussion deeply informed and intellectually substantial.
To have a single thinker of the stature of a Becker or Posner addressing questions of this nature would make for fascinating reading; to have both, writing and responding to each other, is an exceptionally rare treat. With Uncommon Sense, they invite the adventurous reader to join them on a whirlwind intellectual journey. All they ask is that you leave your preconceptions behind.
This expanded edition includes four new chapters, covering recent ideas about human capital, fertility and economic growth, the division of labor, economic considerations within the family, and inequality in earnings.
"Critics have charged that Mr. Becker's style of thinking reduces humans to economic entities. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Becker gives people credit for having the power to reason and seek out their own best destiny."—Wall Street Journal
Microeconomics is the subject matter of this volume, but it is emphatically not confined to microeconomics in the literal sense of micro units like firms or households. Becker's main interest is in market behavior of aggregations of firms and households. Although important inferences are drawn about individual firms and households, the author tries to understand aggregate responses to changes in basic economic parameters like tax rates, tariff schedules, technology, or antitrust provisions. His discussion is related to the market sector in industrialized economies, but the principles developed are applied to other sectors and different kinds of choices.
Becker argues that economic analysis is essential to understand much of the behavior traditionally studied by sociologists, anthropologists, and other social scientists. The broad definition of economics in terms of scarce means and competing ends is taken seriously and should be a source of pride to economists since it provides insights into a wide variety of problems. Practically all statements proved mathematically are also provided geometrically or verbally in the body of the text.
"Becker's highly regarded work in economics is most notable in the imaginative application of 'the economic approach' to a surprising breadth of human activity. Becker's essays over the years have inevitably inspired a surge of research activity in testimony to the richness of his insights into human activities lying 'outside' the traditionally conceived economic markets. Perhaps no economist in our time has contributed more to expanding the area of interest to economists than Becker, and a number of these thought-provoking essays are collected in this book."—Choice
Gary Becker was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 1992.