Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman delivers a talk titled "Schools, Skills, and Synapses: An Economists Perspective on Early Childhood Education and Development" at the 2009 Chautauqua Institution Summer Lecture Series.
James J. Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at The University of Chicago where he has served since 1973 and where he directs the Economics Research Center and the Center for Social Program Evaluation at the Harris School. His work on the use of microeconomics for development of public policy garnered the 2000 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (with Daniel McFadden).
Heckman's recent research focuses on human development and lifecycle skill formation, with a special emphasis on the economics of early childhood. This work has given policymakers important new insights into such areas as education, job-training programs, minimum-wage legislation, anti-discrimination law and civil rights.
In addition to the Nobel Prize, Heckman has received numerous awards for his work, including the John Bates Clark Award of the American Economic Association in 1983, the 2005 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Labor Economics, the 2005 University College Dublin Ulysses Medal, and the 2005 Aigner award from the Journal of Econometrics.
Heckman received his B.A. in mathematics from Colorado College in 1965 and his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University in 1971.
Nobel laureate James Heckman links "soft skills" such as perseverance, attention, motivation, and self-confidence to "success in society at large." Heckman argues that investing in socio-cultural skills will provide more "economic and social return" than investing in social programs or infrastructure.