BECHER, SIEGFRIED (1806–1873), Austrian economist. Becher was born in Plany (Bohemia) and educated in Prague and Vienna. After his conversion to Catholicism, he became professor of geography and history at the Vienna Polytechnic and was frequently consulted by the Austrian authorities on statistical and tariff questions, and represented his country in several international negotiations. In 1848 he was made a counselor at the Ministry of Commerce, and later was granted the title of "Hofrat" (court counselor). After a denunciation because of democratic inclinations he was dismissed in 1852 and died eventually in poverty. In addition to statistical investigations Becher's interests centered on labor and population economics. His publications include Handelsgeographie (2 vols., 1836–37); Oesterreichisches Muenzwesen 1524–1838 (2 vols., 1838); Die Bevoelkerungsverhaeltnisse der oesterreichischen Monarchie (1846); Organisation des Gewerbewesens (1849); and Die Volkswirtschaft (1853).
F. von Sommaruga, in: adb, 2 (1875), 204; J. Baxa, in: ndb, 1 (1953), 691.
[Joachim O. Ronall /
Marcus Pyka (2nd ed.)]