James J. Heckman is the Henry Shultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Public Policy and Director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago. Heckman has a B.A. (1965) in Mathematics from Colorado College and an M.A. (1968) and Ph.D. (1971) in Economics from Princeton University. He has been at the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago since 1973. He was one of the founders of the Harris School of Public Policy, where he also has an appointment. Since 1991, he has been a research fellow at the American Bar Foundation. In 2010, he cofounded the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group, a global network of over 400 scholars working on aspects of measuring and addressing problems of inequality and economic opportunity. In May, 2014, he launched the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago.


He has devoted his professional life to understanding the origins of major social and economic questions related to inequality, social mobility, discrimination, the formation of skills and regulation in labor markets, and to devising and applying economically interpretable empirical strategies for understanding and addressing these questions. While his research is rooted in economics, he also actively collaborates across disciplines to examine all aspects of major problems. His recent interdisciplinary research on human development and skill formation over the life cycle draws on economics, psychology, genetics, epidemiology, neuroscience, and law to examine the origins of inequality, the determinants of social mobility, and the links among stages of the life cycle, starting in the womb. This work has influenced both the scholarly literature and public policy.


In 2000, Heckman won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on the microeconometrics of diversity and heterogeneity and for establishing a sound causal basis for public policy evaluation. He has received numerous other awards for his work, including the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association in 1983, the Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005 from the Society of Labor Economics, the 2005 and 2007 Dennis Aigner Award for Applied Econometrics from the Journal of Econometrics, the Ulysses Medal from the University College Dublin in 2006, the 2007 Theodore W. Schultz Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association, the Gold Medal of the President of the Italian Republic, awarded by the International Scientific Committee of the Pio Manzú Centre in 2008, the Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children Award from the Society for Research in Child Development in 2009, and the Frisch Medal from the Econometric Society in 2014 for the most outstanding paper in applied economics published in Econometrica in the previous five years. He is a recent recipient of a NIH MERIT award.


Heckman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA; a member of the American Philosophical Society; a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the Econometric Society; the Society of Labor Economics; the American Statistical Association; the International Statistical Institute; and the National Academy of Education. He has received numerous honorary degrees, and is a foreign member of several scholarly bodies.


James J. Heckman joined IZA as a Research Fellow in September 1999.

In 2000, he was co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics for his development of theory and methods for analyzing selective samples [read more].

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IZA Publications

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10821
James J. Heckman, Rodrigo Pinto
revised version available as NBER Working Paper No. 23497
IZA Discussion Paper No. 10356
published in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), 2016, 113 (47), 13354-13359
IZA Discussion Paper No. 10005
IZA Discussion Paper No. 10000
forthcoming in the Scandinavian Journal of Economics
IZA Discussion Paper No. 9977
published in: Economic Journal, 2016, 126(596), F1-F27
IZA Discussion Paper No. 9476
IZA Discussion Paper No. 8711
published in: Economic Journal, 2015, 124 (588), F347–F371
IZA Discussion Paper No. 8424
published in: Economic Journal, 2015,125 (583), 403–409
IZA Discussion Paper No. 8338
published in: Journal of Econometrics, 2014, 183(1), 31–57
IZA Discussion Paper No. 8200
IZA Discussion Paper No. 8000
published in: Annual Reviews of Economics, 2014, 6(1), 689-733
IZA Discussion Paper No. 7750
published in: J. Heckman, J.E. Humphries, and T. Kautz (eds.), The Myth of Achievement Tests: The GED and the Role of Character in American Life, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014
IZA Discussion Paper No. 7628
James J. Heckman, Rodrigo Pinto
revised version published in: Econometric Theory, 2015, 31(1), 115-151
IZA Discussion Paper No. 7060
published in: Pediatrics, 131 (supplement 2), 2013, 133-141
IZA Discussion Paper No. 7040
published in: American Economic Review, 2013, 103 (6), 2052-86
IZA Discussion Paper No. 6930
published in: A. Ben-Arieh, F. Casas, I. Frones, and J. Korbin (eds.), Handbook of Child Well-Being: Theories, Methods, and Policies in Global Perspective, Dordrecht: Springer-Verlag, 2013
IZA Discussion Paper No. 6915
published in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012, 109(50), 20578-20583
IZA Discussion Paper No. 6580
published in: Labour Economics, 2012, 19 (4), 451-464
IZA Discussion Paper No. 6550
published in: S. Fan, R. Kanbur, S. Wei, and X. Zhang (eds)., The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China on Human Capital, Oxford: OUP, 2014
IZA Discussion Paper No. 6495
Gabriella Conti, Christopher Hansman, James J. Heckman, Matthew F.X. Novak, Angela M. Ruggiero, Stephen J. Suomi
published in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012, 109(23): 8866-8871.
IZA Discussion Paper No. 5605
published in: Personality and Individual Differences, 2011, 51 (3), 315-320
IZA Discussion Paper No. 5500
published in: E.A. Hanushek, S. Machin and S. Woessman (eds). Handbook of the Economics of Education, Amsterdam: Elsevier. 2011
IZA Discussion Paper No. 5275
published in: American Economic Review, 2011, 110 (6), 2754-2781
IZA Discussion Paper No. 5205
published in: Economic Modelling, 2010, 27 (6), Special Issue: P.A.V.B Swamy, 1355-1367
IZA Discussion Paper No. 5095
James J. Heckman, Seong Hyeok Moon, Rodrigo Pinto, Peter A. Savelyev, Adam Yavitz
published in: Quantitative Economics, 2010, 1 (1), 1-46
IZA Discussion Paper No. 5050
published in: Arthur Reynolds, Arthur Rolnick, Michelle M. Englund, and Judy A. Temple (eds.), Cost-Effective Programs in Children's First Decade: A Human Capital Integration, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010, 381-414
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4975
published in: E.A. Hanushek, S. Machin and S. Woessman (eds.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2011, Chapter 9, 423-483
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4740
Francisco Javier Arias-Vazquez, Oliver Azuara, Pedro Bernal, James J. Heckman, Cajeme Villarreal
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4702
published in: Econometrica, 2010, 78 (3), 883-931
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4680
published in: Hans-Werner Sinn and Edmund Phelps (eds.), Perspectives on the Performance of the Continental Economies, MIT Press, 2011, 253-322
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4540
definitive version published in: Science, 2009, 326 (5952), 535-538
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4533
James J. Heckman, Seong Hyeok Moon, Rodrigo Pinto, Peter A. Savelyev, Adam Yavitz
published in: Journal of Public Economics, 2010, 94 (1-2), 114-128
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4525
published in: Journal of Econometrics, 2010, 158 (2), 177-203
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4329
published in: Econometrica, 2010, 78(5), 1569-1591
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4304
published in: Econometric Journal, 2009, 12 (Supplement), S230-S234
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4001
published in: Journal of the European Economic Association, 2009, 7(2-3), 320 - 364
IZA Discussion Paper No. 3985
published in: Journal of the European Economic Association, 2009, 7(2-3), 649-658
IZA Discussion Paper No. 3980
published in: Journal of Econometrics, 2010, 156 (1), 27-37
IZA Discussion Paper No. 3636
published in: Economic Inquiry, 2010, 48 (1), 234-235
IZA Discussion Paper No. 3565
published in: Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, 2008, 91-92, 9-74
IZA Discussion Paper No. 3515
published in: Economic Inquiry, 2008, 46 (3), 289-324
IZA Discussion Paper No. 3495
James J. Heckman, John Eric Humphries, Paul A. LaFontaine, Pedro L. Rodríguez
published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2012, 30 (3), 495-520
IZA Discussion Paper No. 3425
published in: International Statistical Review, 2008, (76) 1, 1-27
IZA Discussion Paper No. 3333
published in: Journal of Human Resources, 2008, 43 (4), 972-1059
IZA Discussion Paper No. 3310
published in: Journal of Human Capital, 2008, 2(1), 1-31
IZA Discussion Paper No. 3216
James J. Heckman, Paul A. LaFontaine
published in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2010, 92 (2), 244-262
IZA Discussion Paper No. 2940
published in: International Economic Review, 2007, 48(4), 1273-1309
IZA Discussion Paper No. 2875
published in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2007, 104 (33), 13250-13255
IZA Discussion Paper No. 2725
James J. Heckman, Dimitriy V. Masterov
published in: Review of Agricultural Economics, 2007, 29 (3), 446-493
IZA Discussion Paper No. 2565
published in: Macroeconomic Dynamics, 2008, 12 (Supplement 2), 315-354
IZA Discussion Paper No. 2550
published in: American Economic Review, 2007, 97 (2), 31-47
IZA Discussion Paper No. 2320
published in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2006, 88 (3), 389-432
IZA Discussion Paper No. 2184
published in: Annales d'Economie et Statistique, 2005 (Special issue in tribute to Zvi Griliches),79-80, 5 - 22
IZA Discussion Paper No. 1790
published in: Journal of Econometrics, 2007, 136 (2), 341-396
IZA Discussion Paper No. 1700
published in: E. Hanushek and F. Welch, eds., Handbook of the Economics of Education, North Holland: Amsterdam, 2006, 307-458
IZA Discussion Paper No. 1675
published in: E. Hanushek; F. Welch (eds.): Handbook of the Economics of Education, North Holland: Amsterdam, 2006, 697-812
IZA Discussion Paper No. 1453
Pedro Carneiro, James J. Heckman, Dimitriy V. Masterov
published in: Journal of Law and Economics, 2006, 48(1), 1-39
IZA Discussion Paper No. 1444
James J. Heckman, Dimitriy V. Masterov
published in: D. Coyle, W. Alexander and B. Ashcroft, eds., New Wealth for Old Nations: Scotland's Economic Prospects, Princeton University Press: 2005
IZA Discussion Paper No. 1437
published in: Oxford Economic Papers, 2005, 57 (2), 191-261
IZA Discussion Paper No. 853
published in: Journal of Political Economy, 2004, 112 (S1), S60-S109
IZA Discussion Paper No. 843
published in: T. Kehoe, T.N. Srinivasan, and J. Whalley (eds.)- Frontiers in Applied General Equilibrium, Cambridge, 2005, 277 - 340
IZA Discussion Paper No. 829
James J. Heckman, Xuesong Li
published in: Pacific Economic Review, 2004, 9(3), 155-171
IZA Discussion Paper No. 826
Karsten T. Hansen, James J. Heckman, Kathleen Mullen
published in: Journal of Econometrics, 2004, 121 (1-2), 39-98
IZA Discussion Paper No. 821
published in: J. Heckman and A. Krueger, Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policy?, MIT Press, 2003
IZA Discussion Paper No. 798
published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2004, 22 (2), 243-298
IZA Discussion Paper No. 768
published in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2004, 86(1), 30-57
IZA Discussion Paper No. 525
published in: Journal of Human Resources, 2002, 37(4), 778-811
IZA Discussion Paper No. 518
published in: Economic Journal, 2002, 112 (482), 705-734
IZA Discussion Paper No. 453
Pedro Carneiro, Karsten T. Hansen, James J. Heckman
published in: Swedish Policy Review, 2001, 8 (2), 273-301
IZA Policy Paper No. 17
published in: Arthur Reynolds, Arthur Rolnick, Michelle Englund, and Judy A. Temple (eds.), Childhood Programs and Practices in the First Decade of Life: A Human Capital Integration . New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010, 366 - 380
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