NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Dimitriy Masterov

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Working Papers

April 2007The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children
with James J. Heckman: w13016
This paper presents a productivity argument for investing in disadvantaged young children. For such investment, there is no equity-efficiency tradeoff.
May 2005Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation
with Flavio Cunha, James J. Heckman, Lance Lochner: w11331
This paper presents economic models of child development that capture the essence of recent findings from the empirical literature on skill formation. The goal of this essay is to provide a theoretical framework for interpreting the evidence from a vast empirical literature, for guiding the next generation of empirical studies, and for formulating policy. Central to our analysis is the concept that childhood has more than one stage. We formalize the concepts of self-productivity and complementarity of human capital investments and use them to explain the evidence on skill formation. Together, they explain why skill begets skill through a multiplier process. Skill formation is a life cycle process. It starts in the womb and goes on throughout life. Families play a role in this process that ...
November 2003Labor Market Discrimination and Racial Differences in Premarket Factors
with Pedro Carneiro, James J. Heckman: w10068
This paper examines minority-white wage gaps. Neal and Johnson (1996) show that controlling for ability measured in the teenage years eliminates young adult wage gaps for all groups except for black males, for whom they eliminate 70% of the gap. Their study has been faulted because minority children and their parents may have pessimistic expectations about receiving fair rewards for their skills and so they may invest less in skill formation. If this is the case, discrimination may still affect wages, albeit indirectly, though it would appear that any racial differences in wages are due to differences in acquired traits. We find that gaps in ability across racial and ethnic groups open up at very early ages, long before child expectations are likely to become established. These gaps widen ...

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