Penn State

Elizabeth T. Hill - Associate Professor of Economics, Penn State Mont Alto

Book Title: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education

Author: Gary S. Becker

Book Description:

When I was an undergraduate, labor economics usually meant labor unions. Although I was interested in workers, unions were not my primary interest. While the ideas in this book were not necessarily new, the analysis set out in Human Capital was seminal and created a new branch of labor economics. Becker's book provided a concise presentation of the concept of investing time, money, and effort in ways that subsequently increase worker productivity. The importance of his work resulted in Becker's selection as the 1992 Nobel Laureate in Economics for having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behavior and interaction, including non-market behavior. Human Capital provided economists with the theoretical framework needed to examine the effect of education and training on productivity, wages, and labor force participation. Becker's work permitted the development of the economics of marriage and the family. The more recent field of social capital stems from the idea of human capital. These are areas in which I have engaged in research and have published. All of my research begins with Becker's book, and I am pleased to state its special place in my professional life.


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