NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Policies to Foster Human Capital

James J. Heckman

NBER Working Paper No. 7288
Issued in August 1999
NBER Program(s):   LS   PE   CH

This paper considers the sources of skill formation in a modern economy and emphasizes the importance of both cognitive and noncognitive skills in producing economic and social success and the importance of both formal academic institutions and families and firms as sources of learning. Skill formation is a dynamic process with strong synergistic components. Skill begets skill. Early investment promotes later investment. Noncognitive skills and motivation are important determinants of success and these can be improved more successfully and at later ages than basic cognitive skills. Methods currently used to evaluate educational interventions ignore these noncogntive skills and therefore substantially understate the benefits of early intervention programs and mentoring and teenage motivation programs. At current levels of investment, American society underinvests in the very young and overinvests in mature adults with low skills.

download in pdf format
   (717 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (717 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7288

Published: Heckman, James J. "Policies To Foster Human Capital," Research in Economics, 2000, v54(1,Mar), 3-56.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Becker, Murphy, and Tamura Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth
Becker and Tomes Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families
Heckman and Carneiro w9495 Human Capital Policy
Heckman, Stixrud, and Urzua w12006 The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior
Romer w3173 Human Capital And Growth: Theory and Evidence
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us