Human Capital A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education
by Gary S. Becker
University of Chicago Press, 1993
Cloth: 978-0-226-04119-3 | Paper: 978-0-226-04120-9 | Electronic: 978-0-226-04122-3
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226041223.001.0001


Human Capital is Becker's classic study of how investment in an individual's education and training is similar to business investments in equipment. Recipient of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Economic Science, Gary S. Becker is a pioneer of applying economic analysis to human behavior in such areas as discrimination, marriage, family relations, and education. Becker's research on human capital was considered by the Nobel committee to be his most noteworthy contribution to economics.

This expanded edition includes four new chapters, covering recent ideas about human capital, fertility and economic growth, the division of labor, economic considerations within the family, and inequality in earnings.

"Critics have charged that Mr. Becker's style of thinking reduces humans to economic entities. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Becker gives people credit for having the power to reason and seek out their own best destiny."—Wall Street Journal


List of Tables

List of Charts

Preface to the Third Edition

Preface to the First Edition

I. Introduction to the Second Edition

Introduction to the First Edition

1. Introduction

2. Education and Training

3. Human Capital and the Family

4. Human Capital and Economic Development

6. References

Part One: Theoretical Analysis

III. Investment in Human Capital: Effects on Earnings

1. On-the-Job Training

2. Schooling

3. Other Knowledge

4. Productive Wage Increases

1. Relation between Earnings, Costs, and Rates of Return

2. The Incentive to Invest

3. Some Effects of Human Capital

Part Two: Empirical Analysis

V. Rates of Return from College Education

1. Money Rates of Return to White Male College Graduates

2. Some Conceptual Difficulties

3. Rates of Return to Other College Persons

4. Variations in Rates of Return

1. Private Money Gains

2. Social Productivity Gains

3. Private Real Rates

1. The Rate of Return from High School Eduction

2. Trends in Rates of Return

VIII. Age, Earnings, Wealth, and Human Capital

2. Age-Wealth Profiles

1. Summary

2. Future Research

3. Concluding Comments

Part Three: Economy-Wide Changes


1. Introduction

2. Earnings and Human Capital

3. Assets and Consumption

4. Fertility and Marriage

5. Empirical Studies

6. Summary and Discussion

1. Introduction

2. Division of Labor among Tasks

3. Coordination Costs

4. Knowledge and Specialization

5. Extent of the Market

6. The Growth of Specialization and Knowledge

7. The Division of Labor between Sectors: Teachers and Workers

8. Summary

1. Introduction

2. Basic Properties of the Model

3. Fertility and Growth

4. Comparative Advantage in the Production of Human Capital

5. Discussion

6. Concluding Remarks

1. Incomes

2. Costs

B. Mathematical Discussion of Relation between Age, Earnings, and Wealth

Author Index

Subject Index