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Becker's Sources / Future Economists
Unit 1: History and Approaches
-Discrimination towards race, gender, and personal taste can shift AD left or right
-The actual discrimination in the market place on a minority group depends on that of the employers, workers, consumers, school, and governments
-Becker states that competition tends to decrease discrimination
-When the minorities make up a small part of society, the cost of discrimination is less in comparison to a scenario in which minorities represent a larger part in society and discriminated against.
-For Becker, crime was simply a matter of cost versus benefit
-Punishment V Financial Gain
-Argued increased punishment would help reduce crime, skewing the risk analysis of the criminal
-Is crime socially harmful? Yes--diverted funding to prisons, weapons, police
-Becker's work in the field of families includes analysis of marriage, fertility, social security, and much more
-Jobs affect the stability of the marriage
-Having and raising children affects rules of the family
-Family ties are not necessarily linked by altruism but by economic incentive (i.e. people marrying into richer families for money)
-Rotten Kid Theorem=misbehaving boys have the incentive to be nice to their parents in order to get more "bequeaths" (inheritance)
-There exists a lower demand for children due to psychological costs, such as taking care of the child
-Basically, a cost-benefit analysis when raising a child
-Expands from Smith and Marx's claims of human selfishness; Becker evaluates altruism in the family and towards loved ones
-Criticizes Smith's studies as overly reductionist-claims people are complex and have a multitude of interests
-Marx takes a more justice-focused view, claiming that businesses would exploit laborers and seek surplus labor to decrease cost
-Disagrees with competition as a good regulator
-"individuals maximize welfare as they conceive it, whether they be selfish, altruistic, loyal, spiteful, or masochistic"
-Milton Friedman, who applied economic theory to practical, everyday events
- T.W. Schultz who pioneered of the idea of human capital, discussing concepts like fixing education
Psychology is born
Wilhelm Wundt (1879)
University of Leipzig (first lab)
Reaction time experiment
Seeking to measure what?
-Becker attempts to explain the difference in wages and inequality
-Any investment and all people's wages should be considered investments in the economy
-Human capital can be affected by education, alcoholism, and gender gaps
Expanded sociology and economics into new horizons
-Michael Gottfredson--used Becker's theories to delve deeper into criminal minds
-Richard Swedweg--explored connections between economics and sociology, defines "rational choice theory"
-Robert Tamura, who conducted research in human capital
-John Matsusaka, who studied human behavior
What is psychology?
the study of
Pre 1920- The science of mental life
1920s-1960s- The science of observable behavior
The study of the brain and human behavior
The study of the behavior and mental processes
Plato & Socrates-
Mind is separable from body and continues after the body dies; knowledge is innate
(300 BC)- loved data; careful observation; knowledge is not pre-existing, it grows from experiences stored in our memory; theorized about learning & memory, motivation & emotion, perception, and personality.
Descartes- Agreed with Socrates and Plato (innate ideas), mind being entirely distinct from the body=survive death, ”animal spirits”=nerves;True knowledge comes through reasoning
Heredity provides individuals with inborn knowledge and abilities and we use this to reason (we are born knowing stuff)
We are to doubt everything – that’s the only way we can be certain about anything
I think, therefore I am (because we think, we exist)
Locke- Mind at birth on which experience writes; Saw the mind as receptive and passive, with its main goal as sensing and perceiving
Tabula rasa – we are born as a blank slate, everything we know is learned (today many psychologists disagree!!)
This is in direct contrast to the rationalist Descartes