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The Technology of Skill Formation

  • James Heckman
  • Flavio Cunha

This paper develops a model of skill formation that explains a variety of findings established in the child development and child intervention literatures. At its core is a technology that is stage-specific and that features self productivity, dynamic complementarity and skill multipliers. Lessons are drawn for the design of new policies to alleviate the consequences of the accident of birth that is a major source of human inequality.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 97 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 31-47

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:97:y:2007:i:2:p:31-47
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.2.31
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  1. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
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  3. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, . "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-10, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  4. Hansen, Karsten T & Heckman, James J & Mullen, Kathleen J, 2003. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Working Paper Series 2003:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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  7. Aiyagari, S. Rao & Greenwood, Jeremy & Seshadri, Ananth, 2002. "Efficient Investment in Children," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 290-321, February.
  8. 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.
  9. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J. & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2005. "Labor Market Discrimination and Racial Differences in Premarket Factors," IZA Discussion Papers 1453, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  11. Bhargava, Alok, 2012. "Food, Economics, and Health," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199663910, July.
  12. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the technology of cognitive and noncognitive skill formation," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  14. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1993. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," NBER Working Papers 4406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2010. "Investing in Our Young People," NBER Working Papers 16201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Frank Levy, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 5076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, December.
  21. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  22. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  23. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
  24. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
  25. Bénabou, Roland, 2000. "Tax And Education Policy In A Heterogeneous Agent Economy: What Levels Of Redistribution Maximize Growth And Efficiency?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2446, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
  27. Heckman, James J, 1995. "Lessons from the Bell Curve," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 1091-1120, October.
  28. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  29. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2005. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Elizabeth Caucutt & Lance Lochner, 2004. "Early and Late Human Capital Investments, Credit Constraints, and the Family," 2004 Meeting Papers 129, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  31. Bruce A. Weinberg, 2001. "An Incentive Model of the Effect of Parental Income on Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 266-280, April.
  32. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 455-499, June.
  33. John M. Barron & Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black, 2006. "Selective Counteroffers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 385-410, July.
  34. Richard C. Edwards, 1976. "Individual Traits and Organizational Incentives: What Makes a "Good" Worker?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 11(1), pages 51-68.
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