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15of19 - The New Economics of Mortality - Health and Marriage Markets

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Published on Feb 10, 2011

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GARY BECKER

This the fifteenth lecture in the "Lectures on Human Capital" series by Gary Becker. This series of lectures recorded during the Spring of 2010 are from ECON 343 - Human Capital, a class taught every year by Gary Becker at the University of Chicago. In this class, Becker expounds upon the theory of Human Capital that he helped create and for which he won the Nobel Prize. Please see attached lecture notes, video annotations, and reading list for more information.

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Professor Becker returns to the model developed in Lecture 13. However, he extends the model in a way that allows two different kinds of investment in health. In particular, he deals with a case where people can spend in consumption goods, leisure, investing in preventing cancer and investing in preventing cardiovascular diseases. Then, he shows what happens with the spending in each of the diseases when medicine progresses in fighting one of the diseases. These models of health spending on different classes of disease have important consequences for how funding for drug research is allocated and the health care decisions that individuals take.

Next, Becker shifts attention to the study of marriage markets. He develops a model of matching and he explains how sorting happens in different contexts. He stresses out how education influences the marriage results. At the end of the lecture, Professor Becker discusses how the investment in kids behaves in these kinds of mode and why the marriage markets do not produce a zero sum game.

Key concepts: consumption goods, convex cost function of health investment, leisure, matching, marriage market, positive sorting by education, sorting, statistical value of life, utility levels, polygamy in marriage markets.

Main discussions:
• Lecture 15, (18:40-25:45): Professor Becker shows what happens with the spending in each of the diseases when medicine progresses in fighting one of the diseases.
• Lecture 15, (29:50-31:10): Professor Becker explains the positive sorting by education of men and women when they marry.
• Lecture 15, (52:00-54:30): Professor Becker analyzes the marriage market outcomes form a social planner's point of view.
• Lecture 15, (01:13:25-01:16:20): Professor Becker explains why marriage markets are not a zero sum game.

Main quotes:
• "One of the gains of increasing your education is that you improve your marital prospects".
• "More educated people are more likely to marry... more likely to stay married and (...) there is strong positive sorting by the education of men and women".

References:
• Salvador Navarro Lozano. Notes on Gary Becker's Human Capital and the Economy. pp. 21-25.
• Chapter 4: Assortative Mating in Marriage Markets in Becker Gary. A Treatise on the Family. Enlarged ed. pp. 108-134.

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Lecture Notes:
https://mindonline.uchicago.edu/media...

Reading List:
https://mindonline.uchicago.edu/media...

Video Annotations:
https://mindonline.uchicago.edu/media...

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