This is the fourth installment of my series of articles about the absurdity of the Swedish Central Bank’s selection of Gary Becker for its Prize in 1992 on the basis of his embarrassing imperialistic forays into other disciplines. One of the forays the Swedish Central Bank cited was Becker’s work on crime. Becker was a terrible criminologist, just as he embarrassed himself in his related work on families, “human capital,” and discrimination. He may have done the most damage in the field of criminology because he, and his disciples, influenced harmful policy changes. As I have explained in earlier articles in this series, parents were far smarter than Swedish Central Bankers. American parents ignored his advice that it was “optimal” not to educate girls. Conservative politicians involved in setting our policies about crime, sadly, loved Becker’s ideas.
Becker confessed to a similar inability to understand basic concepts that normal human beings would understand in his Prize speech in 1992.