News and Announcements
- In 2019, the Center for the Economics of Human Developed continued to foster a comprehensive research program devoted to understanding human flourishing. We are pleased to share a snapshot of the work we did over the previous year.
- The Center for the Economics of Human Development (CEHD) at the University of Chicago is actively seeking Post-Doctoral Scholars interested in the economics of creating and measuring skills. Scholars are expected to conduct empirical collaborative work on one (or more) focused projects. Descriptions for past and ongoing projects can be found on the Center’s website. Scholars can propose new independent research projects consistent with the Center’s broad aims.
- The Macro Finance Research Program (MFR), Center for the Economics of Human Development (CEHD) will host the second installment of the University of Chicago Policy Forum on November 8, 2019. This second forum will focus on the topic of, “The Pension Crisis: State and Local Pension Challenges.”
- Nobel Laureate James J. Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago, has received the Friendship Award from the Chinese government. Established in 1991, the Friendship Award is the highest honor issued by the Chinese government to foreign experts. Awardees are chosen for their outstanding contributions to China’s economic and social progress. The award is not only presented in recognition of the foreign expert’s contribution to the Chinese but also a symbol of friendship.
- Three of the Center’s predoctoral scholars, Ganesh Karapakula, Sidharth Moktan, and Tanya Rajan, have completed their research terms at the Center for the Economics of Human Development (CEHD). After three years of service, they are moving on to doctoral programs at first-rate institutions in the United States and abroad.
The data provide clear guidelines for action. American policy should acknowledge the power of the accident of birth. A child does not choose the family he or she is born into. But society can enrich the opportunities of disadvantaged children to flourish.
– James J. Heckman
Events and Workshops
Geoffrey Wodtke, The University of Chicago
Abstract: Although it is widely hypothesized that neighborhood effects are explained by differences in the schools to which children have access, few prior studies have investigated the explanatory role of school quality. In this study, we examine whether school quality mediates or interacts with the effects of neighborhood context on academic achievement. With data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, we operationalize a school’s quality as the difference between the school-year and summer learning rates among its 1st grade students. We then decompose the total effect of neighborhood context on achievement at the end of 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade into components due to mediation versus interaction, which we estimate using novel counterfactual methods. Results indicate that living in a disadvantaged neighborhood substantially reduces academic achievement. But contrary to expectations, we find no evidence that neighborhood effects are mediated by or interact with school quality. The school environment does not mediate the effects of neighborhood context because differences in the socioeconomic composition of neighborhoods are not, in fact, strongly linked with differences in school quality. The school environment also does not interact with neighborhood context because attending a high-quality school is similarly beneficial whether children reside in advantaged or disadvantaged neighborhoods.
This forum is intended to inform the debate on the state and local pension crisis, its dimensions, economic ramifications and potential solutions. We hope to address various issues including the scope and magnitude of the fiscal challenges, the role of property taxes and their implications for property values, the continued need to encourage new businesses while addressing the necessity for more revenue in the future, and a better understanding of the political environment and process that gave rise to the challenges faced in the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, as well as in other states and municipalities around the country. Learn more.
Conference on Statistics, Theory, and Data: an Econometrics Conference in Honor of James Heckman
The Conference on Statistics, Theory, and Data: an Econometrics Conference in Honor of James Heckman is being hosted at the Becker Friedman Institute and organized by Professors Steven Durlauf (University of Chicago) and Ed Vytlacil (Yale University) on August 9th and 10th and the University of Chicago.
Current and Upcoming Visitors
Visiting dates: February 13, 2020 - February 21, 2020
Salvador Navarro is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Western Ontario. He is also affiliated with the Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Demography and Ecology at Wisconsin. His research focuses on questions of identification in applied microeconomics problems. He has worked on topics related to education (credit constraints and information, effects of grade retention policy), crime (deterrence and the death penalty), discrimination (racial profiling), identification of dynamic models (dynamic treatment models, dynamic discrete choice models with aggregate data) and the analysis of plant level productivity amongst others.
Visiting dates: August 26, 2019 - February 2, 2020
Bei Liu is an Associate Research Fellow and Program Officer at the China Development Research Foundation (CDRF), a policy research and advocacy organization founded by the Development Research Center of the State Council. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Liu joined CDRF in 2007. She participated in research on Chinese government performance appraisal, grassroots governance in rural China and CDRF policy briefings on Chinese and global economy and social development. Starting from 2009, her professional experiences are focused on the implementation and evaluation of CDRF’s pilot program of early childhood development in poor rural areas. Dr. Liu’s work has been published in policy research reports of the Development Research Center of the State Council, and China Development Report 2011/2012.
Visiting dates: September 14, 2019 - August 31, 2020
Yang Yumei is an Assistant Professor at Beijing Forestry University and Research Fellow at IZA. She obtained her Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics at Remin University of China, and B.A. in Management from Shandong University. Her interests include Labor Economics and Personnel Economics, with a focus on the rural-urban migration in China, development of left-behind children, evaluation of labor market programs and the impact of HRM on labor relations.
Visiting dates: September 14, 2019 - August 31, 2020
Linfeng Fan is a visiting third year Ph.D. student from Renmin University of China's School of Labor and Human Resources. In his prior studies, he earned an M.A. in Agricultural Economics from Renmin University, as well as a B.A. in Applied Mathematics from Chongqing University of Science and Technology. Linfeng's current research, in preparation for his doctoral dissertation, examines child development and early skills formation, with a focus on the impact of China's one-child policy on the formation of both children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills. He specifically looks to the questions of whether families change their fertility preferences, whether families increase their investment on their children's cognitive or non-cognitive skills, or alter its proportion, and whether families over-invest on those cognitive skills in order to guide his research.