Honoring Gary S. Becker: A Conference

February 11, 2011

(All day)

University of Chicago Law School
Edward P. Lazear, Stanford University Graduate School of Business
Kevin Murphy, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Department of Economics

Former Secretary of State George Shultz, Czech Republic President Václav Klaus, and Nobel Laureate James J. Heckman were among the distinguished speakers at this conference to honor Gary S. Becker and his lifetime of path-breaking work.

The event began with opening remarks and a welcome from University President Robert J. Zimmer. In the following address, Shultz, currently the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, appointed himself Becker's research assistant and humorously offered advice on future research directions he could pursue on a serious topic: the war on drugs.

A panel on the role of markets in the modern economy included Robert Barro of Harvard, Steven Davis of the University of Chicago, and Sanford Grossman of QFS Asset Management. In the luncheon address, Klaus, an economist who could not read or safely discuss Western economists for much of his career, paid tribute to the impact Becker and Chicago economists had on the transformation of the Czech economy and on his own thinking.

Conference co-organizer Edward Lazear of Stanford joined Edward Snyder, former dean at University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Lawrence Summers, former director of the National Economic Council, for a panel discussion on economics and government policy. Edward Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer of Harvard and Steven Levitt of the University of Chicago comprised the final panel entitled “The Future of Economics: New Directions and Continuing Breakthroughs.”

The evening concluded with James Heckman's overview of Becker's life and work and many heartfelt toasts from colleagues, friends, and Becker's wife, Guity.

February 11, 2011 (All day)