IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp2190.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economic, Neurobiological and Behavioral Perspectives on Building America's Future Workforce

Author

Listed:
  • Knudsen, Eric I.

    (Stanford University)

  • Heckman, James J.

    (University of Chicago)

  • Cameron, Judy L.

    (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Shonkoff, Jack P.

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

A 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Knudsen, Eric I. & Heckman, James J. & Cameron, Judy L. & Shonkoff, Jack P., 2006. "Economic, Neurobiological and Behavioral Perspectives on Building America's Future Workforce," IZA Discussion Papers 2190, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2190
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://docs.iza.org/dp2190.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Blau, David & Currie, Janet, 2006. "Pre-School, Day Care, and After-School Care: Who's Minding the Kids?," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & F. Welch (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1163-1278, Elsevier.
    3. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & F. Welch (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 697-812, Elsevier.
    4. David T. Ellwood, 2001. "The Sputtering Labor Force of the 21st Century. Can Social Policy Help?," NBER Working Papers 8321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Berlinski, Samuel & Galiani, Sebastian & Manacorda, Marco, 2008. "Giving children a better start: Preschool attendance and school-age profiles," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1416-1440, June.
    2. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    3. Ludger Wößmann, 2008. "Efficiency and equity of European education and training policies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(2), pages 199-230, April.
    4. Sam Berlinksi & Sebastian Galiani & Marco Manacorda, 2007. "Giving Children a Better Start: Preschool Attendance & School-Age Profiles," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp860, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    5. James J. Heckman, 2008. "Schools, Skills, And Synapses," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(3), pages 289-324, July.
    6. Norbert Schady, 2006. "Early Childhood Development in Latin America and the Caribbean," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 185-225, January.
    7. Apps, Patricia & Mendolia, Silvia & Walker, Ian, 2013. "The impact of pre-school on adolescents’ outcomes: Evidence from a recent English cohort," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 183-199.
    8. Heckman, James J. & Raut, Lakshmi K., 2016. "Intergenerational long-term effects of preschool-structural estimates from a discrete dynamic programming model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 191(1), pages 164-175.
    9. Alessandro Tampieri, 2016. "Social background effects on school and job opportunities," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(5), pages 496-510, September.
    10. Berlinski, Samuel & Galiani, Sebastian & Gertler, Paul, 2009. "The effect of pre-primary education on primary school performance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 219-234, February.
    11. Justin Cook, C. & Fletcher, Jason M., 2015. "Understanding heterogeneity in the effects of birth weight on adult cognition and wages," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 107-116.
    12. World Bank, 2017. "Pre-Primary Education in Mongolia," World Bank Publications - Reports 26402, The World Bank Group.
    13. Christopher Herrington, 2015. "Public Education Financing, Earnings Inequality, and Intergenerational Mobility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(4), pages 822-842, October.
    14. Daniela Del Boca & Chiara Monfardini & Cheti Nicoletti, 2012. "Self investments of adolescents and their cognitive development," Discussion Papers 12/24, Department of Economics, University of York.
    15. Norbert Schady & Jere Behrman & Maria Caridad Araujo & Rodrigo Azuero & Raquel Bernal & David Bravo & Florencia Lopez-Boo & Karen Macours & Daniela Marshall & Christina Paxson & Renos Vakis, 2015. "Wealth Gradients in Early Childhood Cognitive Development in Five Latin American Countries," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 446-463.
    16. Alessandra Casarico & Luca Micheletto & Alessandro Sommacal, 2015. "Intergenerational transmission of skills during childhood and optimal public policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 353-372, April.
    17. Ylenia Brilli & Daniela Boca & Chiara Pronzato, 2016. "Does child care availability play a role in maternal employment and children’s development? Evidence from Italy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 27-51, March.
    18. Vignoles Anna F & Powdthavee Nattavudh, 2009. "The Socioeconomic Gap in University Dropouts," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-36, April.
    19. Ludger Wößmann, 2006. "Bildungspolitische Lehren aus den internationalen Schülertests: Wettbewerb, Autonomie und externe Leistungsüberprüfung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7(3), pages 417-444, August.
    20. Islam, Gazi & Zyphur, Michael J. & Boje, David M., 2006. "Carnival and Spectacle in Krewe de Vieux and the Mystic Krewe of Spermes: The Mingling o Organization and Celebration," Insper Working Papers wpe_54, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    child development; early experience; economic productivity; critical and sensitive periods; brain development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2190. See general 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/izaaade.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Holger Hinte (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/izaaade.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.