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: Jun Hyung Kim

CEHD alumni Jun Hyung Kim studies several domains that shape and support children’s development: parenting, schools, peers, and neighborhoods. While most economists look at the time and money parents invest in their children, Professor Kim looks at something harder to quantify: the impact of parenting behavior, especially around discipline. In this video he shares the findings of his studies of programs that build parenting skills, and other work that shows peers can influence children’s non-cognitive skills.

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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