Wandering from the Borderlands of Social Sciences: Gary Becker's the Economics of Discrimination

History of political economy, Vol. 44(1), Pp.1-40, 2012

45 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2016 Last revised: 29 Jun 2016

Date Written: January 1, 2009

Abstract

This article contextualizes the writing, reception, and impact of Gary Becker’s first book, The Economics of Discrimination, in order to deepen our understanding of the relationships between economics and the other social sciences. First, we study the social scientific work on race relations prior to Becker’s book, work that was heavily influenced by the work of the economist Gunnar Myrdal and criticized for lacking an underlying theoretical framework. Second, we analyze the novelty of Becker’s contribution. Becker’s book introduced non-pecuniary motives into the neoclassical framework so as to respond to the criticisms leveled by institutional economists against the marginal analysis of labor markets. In doing so, Becker attempted to redefine the relationship between economists and other social scientists. Third, we study the reaction to Becker’s redefinition of disciplinary territories, which illustrated the current debates within sociology and labor economics. Finally, we study the impact of Becker’s book on social scientific research in the 1960s.

Keywords: Gary Becker, Economics Imperialism, History of Economic Thought, History of Economics, Discrimination

JEL Classification: B21

Suggested Citation

Fleury, Jean-Baptiste, Wandering from the Borderlands of Social Sciences: Gary Becker's the Economics of Discrimination (January 1, 2009). History of political economy, Vol. 44(1), Pp.1-40, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2800534

Jean-Baptiste Fleury (Contact Author)

THEMA ( email )

33 Boulevard du Port
Cergy-Pontoise Cedex, Cedex 95011
France

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
77
Abstract Views
514
rank
443,622
PlumX Metrics