Economic, Neurobiological and Behavioral Perspectives on Building America's Future Workforce
AbstractA growing proportion of the U.S. workforce will have been raised in disadvantaged environments that are associated with relatively high proportions of individuals with diminished cognitive and social skills. A cross-disciplinary examination of research in economics, developmental psychology, and neurobiology reveals a striking convergence on a set of common principles that account for the potent effects of early environment on the capacity for human skill development. Central to these principles are the findings that early experiences have a uniquely powerful influence on the development of cognitive and social skills, as well as on brain architecture and neurochemistry; that both skill development and brain maturation are hierarchical processes in which higher level functions depend on, and build on, lower level functions; and that the capacity for change in the foundations of human skill development and neural circuitry is highest earlier in life and decreases over time. These findings lead to the conclusion that the most efficient strategy for strengthening the future workforce, both economically and neurobiologically, and for improving its quality of life is to invest in the environments of disadvantaged children during the early childhood years.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2190.
Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: World Economics, 2006, 7 (3), 17 - 41
Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Other versions of this item:
- Eric I. Knudsen & James J. Heckman & Judy L. Cameron & Jack P. Shonkoff, 2006. "Economic, Neurobiological and Behavioral Perspectives on Building America's Future Workforce," NBER Working Papers 12298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
- I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-07-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2006-07-15 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-PBE-2006-07-15 (Public Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003.
"Human Capital Policy,"
NBER Working Papers
9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2005.
"Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation,"
IZA Discussion Papers
1675, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
- Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 11331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Blau & Janet Currie, 2004.
"Preschool, Day Care, and Afterschool Care: Who's Minding the Kids?,"
NBER Working Papers
10670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Blau, David & Currie, Janet, 2006. "Pre-School, Day Care, and After-School Care: Who's Minding the Kids?," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.