Top Quotes by James Heckman

You have kids growing up in some of the worst circumstances financially, living in some of the worst ghettos, and they succeed. They succeed because an adult figure, typically a mother, maybe a grandmother, nourishes the kid, supports the kid, protects the kid, encourages the kid to succeed. It’s as if the environment never happened.

James Heckman

Some kids win the lottery at birth; far too many don’t – and most people have a hard time catching up over the rest of their lives. Children raised in disadvantaged environments are not only much less likely to succeed in school or in society, but they are also much less likely to be healthy adults.

James Heckman

Self-control, openness, the ability to engage with others, to plan and to persist – these are the attributes that get people in the door and on the job, and lead to productive lives.

James Heckman

It is imperative to change the way we look at education. We should invest in the foundation of school readiness from birth to age 5.

James Heckman

For a variety of reasons, I have always felt myself an outsider. I don’t know how to classify myself in economics. I am a loner. I do not like groupthink, which, if anything, has become more important in economics. In addition, a lot of the values I hold are not the mainstream values in the profession.

James Heckman

The cognitive skills prized by the American educational establishment and measured by achievement tests are only part of what is required for success in life. Character skills are equally important determinants of wages, education, health and many other significant aspects of flourishing lives.

James Heckman

Early investment in the lives of disadvantaged children will help reduce inequality, in both the short and the long run.

James Heckman

Chicago is an exciting place which renews itself. The workshop system encourages close reading and frank discussions of papers and ideas.

James Heckman

The goal, I think, of American education, for decades, and across many, many scholars, was basically to teach people broad lessons in how to live life, how to engage life, how to essentially be effective citizens and effective people.

James Heckman

We can change who we are. We can improve ourselves in various ways, and we can give ourselves possibilities.

James Heckman

The traditional story of economists has been to say education explains what the returns are to school. I say, ‘Okay, that’s fine, but what explains the education? How much is just a matter of my giving you a poor kid versus a rich kid?’

James Heckman

Religion gives you a sense of certainty. It makes you feel that you have the right answers to really big questions and that you’ve grasped the truth.

James Heckman

Early intervention programs enrich adverse family environments. The largest effects of the early intervention programs are on noncognitive traits. Now, what do I mean by that? I mean perseverance, motivation, self-esteem, and hard work.

James Heckman

There is a responsibility that goes with winning the Nobel Prize, and the responsibility is that if you have a forum, you should use it wisely.

James Heckman

Cognitive and character skills work together as dynamic complements; they are inseparable. Skills beget skills. More motivated children learn more. Those who are more informed usually make wiser decisions.

James Heckman

I went to a liberal arts college, and as part of my background, I was majoring in mathematics and physics.

James Heckman

I had always had a deep interest in social science, history. So even when I was in high school, I was debating, and in college debating, and interested in contemporary events.

James Heckman

I remember sitting there on my father’s couch or my mother’s couch, listening to this lecture about how there were two groups and we had to be separated. We’ve come a long way from this kind of open racism. And I think it’s wonderful.

James Heckman

I think race is very important. I think generally speaking, we’ve to face the general problem, which is that we are seeing more children coming out of families which simply don’t give them adequate resources for their development.

James Heckman

My family life is a deep source of satisfaction.

James Heckman

The separate water foundations, park benches, bathrooms and restaurants of the Jim Crow South startled me. These experiences motivated my lifelong study of the status of African Americans and the sources of improvement in that status.

James Heckman

The scientific study of labor economics provided the opportunity for me to unite theory with evidence my lifetime intellectual passion.

James Heckman

I remember that, one day, I was visiting one training center in the 1990s that was teaching people how to fix Volkswagen engines from the 1960s, which were no longer sold. So you were training people on a skill that had zero value. The reason is that they hadn’t received any new equipment in 20 years.

James Heckman

There’s no question that we have great value on the sanctity of the family, and there are a lot of competing visions about exactly how we teach a set of values and we teach skills to our children, especially in the early years when they’re really forming their personalities, their personas, really.

James Heckman

Schooling after the second grade plays only a minor role in creating or reducing gaps.

James Heckman

I’m instinctively cautious because I’m an academic.

James Heckman