Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Special Event #91
Presidential Scholar's Address: Marriage, Divorce and the Family
Saturday, May 24, 2008
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Grand Ballroom
Chair: Janet S. Twyman (Headsprout)
Presidential Scholar's Address: Marriage, Divorce and the Family
Abstract: Professor Becker's research program is founded on the idea that the behavior of an individual adheres to the same fundamental principles in a number of different areas. The same explanatory model should thus be applicable in analyzing highly diverse aspects of human behavior. His explanatory model is based on what he calls an economic approach, which he has applied to one area after another. This approach is characterized by the fact that individual agents—regardless of whether they are households, firms or other organizations—are assumed to behave rationally, i.e., purposefully, and that their behavior can be described as if they maximized a specific objective function, such as utility or wealth. Professor Becker has applied the principle of rational, optimizing behavior to areas where researchers formerly assumed that behavior is habitual and often downright irrational. His first book in 1957 explored The Economics of Discrimination. For his presentation at this year’s convention, Professor Becker will use economic analysis to explain marriage and divorce rates in the United States. Among the issues considered are the rise in divorce rates and the decline in marriage rates since the 1960's.
GARY S. BECKER (University of Chicago)
Dr. Gary S. Becker earned a BA at Princeton University and a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago. Becker was a professor at Columbia University from 1957 to 1969. He now holds joint appointments with the department of economics and sociology and the graduate school of business at the University of Chicago. Professor Becker has been applying economic analysis to understand consequential behavior of social significance for over fifty years. In addition, Becker was one of the founders of the principle that education is an investment in human capital. In 1992, Professor Becker received the Nobel Prize in Economics "for having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behavior and interaction, including nonmarket behavior." He has received many other prestigious awards, including the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association, the National Medal of Science, and most recently, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.



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