The Center conducts and synthesizes wide-ranging research that explores the circumstances under which people develop the skills necessary to achieve their fullest potential and thrive in the current economy. This research, guided by Nobel laureate James J. Heckman, brings together teams of the best researchers from throughout the world to explore complex and interrelated aspects of how individuals acquire human capital and how that shapes economic outcomes.
The center actively disseminates its findings, equipping researchers, policymakers, and practitioners with the information necessary to promote equality of opportunity for even the most disadvantaged and vulnerable.
Emerging Insights

New research that takes a lifecycle approach to the study of human flourishing is presented weekly. Join us.

Lifecycle Working Group
Policy Impact

From Chicago’s neighborhoods to rural China, our work measures program impact and helps shape effective policies.

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Get Involved

Our ambitious research agenda takes aim at the biggest questions about sources of economic inequality—and you can help.

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Featured Video: Jorge Luis García

How do we structure policies that alleviate poverty and relative disadvantage for some sets of people? That’s the question driving the research of Jorge Luis García, Professor of Economics at Clemson University and CEHD alumni. In this video, he discusses the actual impact of China’s One Child Policy on women’s fertility choices; how early education programs that improved the quality of family life impacted lifelong outcomes for siblings and children of original participants; the unintended consequences of a guaranteed employment program in India; and his new study of a guaranteed basic income program in rural South Carolina.

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Notable News

Parents and Opportunity Are Key to Social Mobility

Families are crucial in promoting flourishing lives and social mobility, but their impact is often left out of policy debates, Director James J. Heckman argues in a Newsweek op ed.
Read the Op-Ed

CEHD Partners with Casa Central to Support Chicago Families

CEHD has selected Casa Central as its community partner in an ambitious home visiting program that will support Chicago families. The program aims to strengthen parents’ capacity to support their child’s early learning and skill development—the foundation for success in life.
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Intergenerational Mobility may be Substantially Overstated, New Study Shows

New research that refines measures of resources and well-being passed from parents to their children shows that current estimates of intergenerational mobility may be substantially overstated.
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Jamaican Early Childhood Stimulation Study Shows Benefits Last Through Age 31

A group of infants and toddlers in Jamaica who received developmental stimulation—via home visits and nutritional support—continue to show benefits from this intervention as adults three decades later, according to a new study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
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Featured Projects

At CEHD, creative and energetic graduate and undergraduate students, visiting scholars, and doctoral and postdoctoral fellows propel our research while honing their analytic skills and methods. A dedicated staff supports and disseminates their work. This team is based in two adjoining houses connected to the University of Chicago’s Saieh Hall for Economics.

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Learn more about the History of our Offices