Type: Public event

The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human Development

Date & time

Mar 12, 2009, 3:30-5:00 pm EDT


Michigan Union, Pendleton Room (2nd Floor)
Ann Arbor, MI

featuring James J. Heckman, University of Chicago

March 12, 2009
3:30 - 5:00PM
Michigan Union, Pendleton Room
530 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1308

There is no admission fee for this lecture and refreshments will be provided.

Jointly sponsored by:
• National Poverty Center, University of Michigan
• Panel Study of Income Dynamics
• The Center for Human Potential and Public Policy at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy Studies


James J. Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, at the University of Chicago. He is the recipient of the 1983 John Bates Clark Award of the American Economic Association, the 2000 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, 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.

The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human Development
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.  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.