James Heckman received his B.A. in Mathematics from Colorado College and his Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University. He is currently 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. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation, and is affiliated with University College London, Peking University and University College Dublin. Heckman’s work has been devoted to the development of a scientific basis for economic policy evaluation, with special emphasis on models of individuals and disaggregated groups, and to the problems and possibilities created by heterogeneity, diversity, and unobserved counterfactual states. In the early 1990s, his pioneering research on the outcomes of people who obtain the GED certificate received national attention. His findings, which questioned the alleged benefits of the degree, spurred debates across the country on the merits of obtaining the certificate. His recent research focuses on human development and lifecycle skill formation, with a special emphasis on the economics of early childhood. His research has given policymakers important new insights into such areas as education, job-training programs, minimum-wage legislation, anti-discrimination law and civil rights.
Heckman has published over 200 articles and several books. His most recent books include: Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policy? (with Alan Krueger) and Evaluating Human Capital Policy, and Law and Employment: Lessons From Latin America and the Caribbean (with C. Pages).
Heckman has received numerous awards for his work, including the John Bates Clark Award of the American Economic Association in 1983, the 2000 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (with Daniel McFadden), the 2007 Theodore W. Schultz Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association, the 2005 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Labor Economics, the 2005 Dennis Aigner Award for Applied Econometrics from the Journal of Econometrics, and the 2005 Ulysses Medal from the University College Dublin. He is currently Associate Editor of the Journal of Labor Economics. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society, the Society of Labor Economics, and the American Statistical Association.