James Heckman is currently the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago where he has served since 1973 and where he directs the Economics Research Center and the Center for Social Program Evaluation at the Harris School. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation, and is affiliated with University College London, Peking University and University College Dublin.  Heckman's work has been devoted to the development of a scientific basis for economic policy evaluation, with special emphasis on models of individuals and disaggregated groups, and to the problems and possibilities created by heterogeneity, diversity, and unobserved counterfactual states. 

In the early 1990s, his pioneering research on the outcomes of people who obtain the GED certificate received national attention. His findings, which questioned the alleged benefits of the degree, spurred debates across the country on the merits of obtaining the certificate. His recent research focuses on human development and lifecycle skill formation, with a special emphasis on the economics of early childhood. His research has given policymakers important new insights into such areas as education, job-training programs, minimum-wage legislation, anti-discrimination law and civil rights


Professor Heckman has received numerous awards for his work, including the John Bates Clark Award (1983) given biannually by the American Economic Association to the American economist  under the age of  forty who has made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge, the 2000 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the 2005 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Labor Economics, the 2005 Dennis Aigner Award for Applied Econometrics from the Journal of Econometrics, and the 2005 Ulysses Medal from the University College Dublin. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society and the Society of Labor Economics, and a fellow of the American Statistical Association.


Professor Heckman has published over 200 articles and several books.  Recent books include:  Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policy? (with Alan Krueger) , and Evaluating Human Capital Policy.