Heckman, James J.
Heckman, James J.
Heckman, James J.
Now showing 1 - 10 of 14
- PublicationSchools, skills, and synapsesThis paper discusses (a) the role of cognitive and noncognitive ability in shaping adult outcomes, (b) the early emergence of differentials in abilities between children of advantaged families and children of disadvantaged families, (c) the role of families in creating these abilities, (d) adverse trends in American families, and (e) the effectiveness of early interventions in offsetting these trends. Practical issues in the design and implementation of early childhood programs are discussed.
- PublicationEarnings functions and rates of return(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008-12-15)
; ;The internal rate of return to schooling is a fundamental economic parameter that is often used to assess whether expenditure on education should be increased or decreased. This paper considers alternative approaches to estimating marginal internal rates of return for different schooling levels. We implement a general nonparametric approach to estimate marginal internal rates of return that take into account tuition costs, income taxes and nonlinearities in the earnings-schooling-experience relationship. The returns obtained by the more general method differ substantially from Mincer returns in levels and in their evolution over time. They indicate relatively larger returns to graduating from high school than from graduating from college, although both have been increasing over time. 306
- PublicationThe economics and psychology of inequality and human development(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2009-03-09)
;Recent research on the economics of human development deepens understanding of the origins of inequality and excellence. It draws on and contributes to personality psychology and the psychology of human development. Inequalities in family environments and investments in children are substantial. They causally affect the development of capabilities. Both cognitive and noncognitive capabilities determine success in life but to varying degrees for different outcomes. An empirically determined technology of capability formation reveals that capabilities are self-productive and cross-fertilizing and can be enhanced by investment. Investments in capabilities are relatively more productive at some stages of a child's life cycle than others. Optimal child investment strategies differ depending on target outcomes of interest and on the nature of adversity in a child's early years. For some configurations of early disadvantage and for some desired outcomes, it is efficient to invest relatively more in the later years of childhood than in the early years. 659
- PublicationEconometric causalityThis paper presents the econometric approach to causal modeling. It is motivated by policy problems. New causal parameters are defined and identified to address specific policy problems. Economists embrace a scientific approach to causality and model the preferences and choices of agents to infer subjective (agent) evaluations as well as objective outcomes. Anticipated and realized subjective and objective outcomes are distinguished. Models for simultaneous causality are developed. The paper contrasts the Neyman–Rubin model of causality with the econometric approach.
- PublicationEarly childhood intervention : rationale, timing, and efficacy(University College Dublin, Geary Institute, 2007-01)
; ; ;This paper provides a brief review of the economic rationale for investing in early childhood. It discusses the optimal timing of intervention, with reference to recent work in developmental neuroscience, and asks how early is early? It motivates the need for early intervention by providing an overview of the impact of adverse factors during the antenatal and early childhood period on outcomes later in life. Early childhood interventions, even poorly designed ones, are costly to implement, therefore it is vital that interventions are well-designed if they are to yield high economic and social returns. The paper therefore presents a set of guiding principles for the effectiveness of early intervention. It concludes by presenting a case for a new study of the optimal timing of interventions. 1147
- PublicationThe economics and psychology of personality traits(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008-12-15)
; ; ;This paper explores the interface between personality psychology and economics. We examine the predictive power of personality and the stability of personality traits over the life cycle. We develop simple analytical frameworks for interpreting the evidence in personality psychology and suggest promising avenues for future research. 2089
- PublicationThe american high school graduation rate : trends and levels(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008-12-15)
;This paper applies a unified methodology to multiple data sets to estimate both the levels and trends in U.S. high school graduation rates. We establish that (a) the true high school graduation rate is substantially lower than widely used measures; (b) the U.S. graduation rate peaked in the early 1970s; (c) majority/minority differentials are substantial and have not converged over the past 35 years; (d) lower post-1970 rates are not solely due to increasing immigrant and minority populations; (e) our findings explain part of the slowdown in college attendance and the rise in college wage premiums; and (f) growing high school graduation differentials by gender help explain increasing male-female college attendance gaps 683
- PublicationMeasuring Investment in Human Capital Formation: An Experimental Analysis of Early Life Outcomes(University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2013-08)
; ; ; ;The literature on skill formation and human capital development clearly demonstrates that early investment in children is an equitable and efficient policy with large returns in adulthood. Yet little is known about the mechanisms involved in producing these long-term effects. This paper presents early evidence on the nature of skill formation based on an experimentally designed, five-year home visiting program in Ireland targeting disadvantaged families - Preparing for Life (PFL). We examine the impact of investment between utero to 18 months of age on a range of parental and child outcomes. Using the methodology of Heckman et al. (2010a), permutation testing methods and a stepdown procedure are applied to account for the small sample size and the increased likelihood of false discoveries when examining multiple outcomes. The results show that the program impact is concentrated on parental behaviors and the home environment, with little impact on child development at this early stage. This indicates that home visiting programs can be effective at offsetting deficits in parenting skills within a relatively short timeframe, yet continued investment may be required to observe direct effects on child development. While correcting for attrition bias leads to some changes in the precision of estimates, overall the results are quite similar. 471
- PublicationGender differences in risk aversion and ambiguity(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2009-03-09)
; ; ;This paper demonstrates gender differences in risk aversion and ambiguity aversion. It also contributes to a growing literature relating economic preference parameters to psychological measures by asking whether variations in preference parameters among persons, and in particular across genders, can be accounted for by differences in personality traits and traits of cognition. Women are more risk averse than men. Over an initial range, women require no further compensation for the introduction of ambiguity but men do. At greater levels of ambiguity, women have the same marginal distaste for increased ambiguity as men. Psychological variables account for some of the interpersonal variation in risk aversion. They explain none of the differences in ambiguity. 583
- PublicationIdentification of treatment effects using control functions in models with continuous, endogenous treatment and heterogeneous effects(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008-12-15)
; ; ;We use the control function approach to identify the average treatment effect and the effect of treatment on the treated in models with a continuous endogenous regressor whose impact is heterogeneous. We assume a stochastic polynomial restriction on the form of the heterogeneity but, unlike alternative nonparametric control function approaches, our approach does not require large support assumptions. 734