James Heckman

(James Joseph Heckman)

James Heckman
James Heckman
  • Born: April 19, 1944
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Economist

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James Joseph Heckman is a Nobel Prize winning American economist who is currently at the University of Chicago, where he is The Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College; Professor at the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies; Director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development (CEHD); and Co-Director of Human Capital and Economic Opportunity (HCEO) Global Working Group. He is also Professor of Law at the Law School, a senior research fellow at the American Bar Foundation, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 2000, Heckman shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Daniel McFadden, for his pioneering work in econometrics and microeconomics. As of December 2018 (according to RePEc), he is the most influential economist in the world.

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Chicago is an exciting place which renews itself. The workshop system encourages close reading and frank discussions of papers and ideas.
Cognitive and character skills work together as dynamic complements; they are inseparable. Skills beget skills. More motivated children learn more. Those who are more informed usually make wiser decisions. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Early intervention programs enrich adverse family environments. The largest effects of the early intervention programs are on noncognitive traits. Now, what do I mean by that? I mean perseverance, motivation, self-esteem, and hard work. Families, Children & Parenting ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Early investment in the lives of disadvantaged children will help reduce inequality, in both the short and the long run.
For a variety of reasons, I have always felt myself an outsider. I don't know how to classify myself in economics. I am a loner. I do not like groupthink, which, if anything, has become more important in economics. In addition, a lot of the values I hold are not the mainstream values in the profession.
I had always had a deep interest in social science, history. So even when I was in high school, I was debating, and in college debating, and interested in contemporary events. History ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I remember sitting there on my father's couch or my mother's couch, listening to this lecture about how there were two groups and we had to be separated. We've come a long way from this kind of open racism. And I think it's wonderful.
I remember that, one day, I was visiting one training center in the 1990s that was teaching people how to fix Volkswagen engines from the 1960s, which were no longer sold. So you were training people on a skill that had zero value. The reason is that they hadn't received any new equipment in 20 years.
I think race is very important. I think generally speaking, we've to face the general problem, which is that we are seeing more children coming out of families which simply don't give them adequate resources for their development.
I went to a liberal arts college, and as part of my background, I was majoring in mathematics and physics.
I'm instinctively cautious because I'm an academic.
It is imperative to change the way we look at education. We should invest in the foundation of school readiness from birth to age 5. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
My family life is a deep source of satisfaction. Life ;Families, Children & Parenting
Religion gives you a sense of certainty. It makes you feel that you have the right answers to really big questions and that you've grasped the truth. Truth ;Religion & God
Schooling after the second grade plays only a minor role in creating or reducing gaps.
Self-control, openness, the ability to engage with others, to plan and to persist - these are the attributes that get people in the door and on the job, and lead to productive lives.
Some kids win the lottery at birth; far too many don't - and most people have a hard time catching up over the rest of their lives. Children raised in disadvantaged environments are not only much less likely to succeed in school or in society, but they are also much less likely to be healthy adults. Society ;Time
The cognitive skills prized by the American educational establishment and measured by achievement tests are only part of what is required for success in life. Character skills are equally important determinants of wages, education, health and many other significant aspects of flourishing lives. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Life ;Success
The goal, I think, of American education, for decades, and across many, many scholars, was basically to teach people broad lessons in how to live life, how to engage life, how to essentially be effective citizens and effective people. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Life
The scientific study of labor economics provided the opportunity for me to unite theory with evidence my lifetime intellectual passion.
The separate water foundations, park benches, bathrooms and restaurants of the Jim Crow South startled me. These experiences motivated my lifelong study of the status of African Americans and the sources of improvement in that status.
The traditional story of economists has been to say education explains what the returns are to school. I say, 'Okay, that's fine, but what explains the education? How much is just a matter of my giving you a poor kid versus a rich kid?' Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
There is a responsibility that goes with winning the Nobel Prize, and the responsibility is that if you have a forum, you should use it wisely.
There's no question that we have great value on the sanctity of the family, and there are a lot of competing visions about exactly how we teach a set of values and we teach skills to our children, especially in the early years when they're really forming their personalities, their personas, really. Families, Children & Parenting
We can change who we are. We can improve ourselves in various ways, and we can give ourselves possibilities.
You have kids growing up in some of the worst circumstances financially, living in some of the worst ghettos, and they succeed. They succeed because an adult figure, typically a mother, maybe a grandmother, nourishes the kid, supports the kid, protects the kid, encourages the kid to succeed. It's as if the environment never happened.