Thursday, August 13, 2009

What did a Nobel Prize do for you?

Gary Becker has a wonderful answer in an interview with Chicago Booth Magazine:

Of course you become a lot more famous and well-known and invited to a lot of things. But in terms of what it does or what you do, it varies from Nobel winner to Nobel winner. I speak for myself. You get some more money, so you have more financial independence. I never did much consulting so I never had any big source of income. So that was, of course, useful.

The other thing is that it legitimized some of what used to be called “oddball” areas that I was working in—the family, crime, addiction. And it legitimized these areas not only for me, but also for all of my students and others in the profession who were doing that. I got plenty of comments from people I knew who were working on these problems. That was very gratifying. Before, I was worried that I got them into this area that was always under attack and wasn’t so accepted. Now I feel I helped them out a little bit, so I made up for it, to some extent.

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