NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Capabilities and Skills

James J. Heckman, Chase O. Corbin

NBER Working Paper No. 22339
Issued in June 2016
NBER Program(s):CH, ED

This paper discusses the relevance of recent research on the economics of human development to the work of the Human Development and Capability Association. The recent economics of human development brings insights about the dynamics of skill accumulation to an otherwise static literature on capabilities. Skills embodied in agents empower people. Enhanced skills enhance opportunities and hence promote capabilities. We address measurement problems common to both the economics of human development and the capability approach. The economics of human development analyzes the dynamics of preference formation, but is silent about which preferences should be used to evaluate alternative policies. This is both a strength and a limitation of the approach.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22339

Published: James J. Heckman & Chase O. Corbin, 2016. "Capabilities and Skills," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, vol 17(3), pages 342-359.

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