Professor James Heckman is frequently asked, “If we had X dollars to invest in reducing inequality or promoting human capital development, where should we invest it?”
His new paper, Build a Scaffolding of Support, provides the answers. He outlines eight key points:
- Pre-distributing wealth is much more effective than redistributing wealth.
- Resist the temptation to look for one silver bullet investment or program.
- Understand that skills beget skills.
- Look to build a scaffolding of support around disadvantaged children: parental education, nutrition, early learning and early health.
- Follow up on investments in parenting, early learning and health with access to high-quality preschool that develops cognitive and social and emotional skills.
- Make sure K-12 education develops the whole child, not just cognitive skills.
- Remediation efforts in K-12 and the young adult years should emphasize social and emotional development and mentorship.
- Focus on value, not on cost.
James J. Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, a Nobel Laureate in economics and an expert in the economics of human development.
Download and share The Heckman Equation paper.