Skill Formation Paper Selected for 2014 Frisch Medal
Professor James Heckman, along with his co-authors Flavio Cunha and Susanne M. Schennach, have been awarded the Econometric Society's Frisch Medal for their paper entitled "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation", published in Econometrica in May 2010!
The Econometric Society awards the Frisch Medal every two years for an applied article (empirical or theoretical) published in Econometrica during the past five years. The article was selected from a pool of 86 papers in 25 issues of Econometrica published between March 2010 and March 2014.
The award will be presented at the European summer meeting of the Econometric Society in Toulouse, France. The selection committee's citation for the award is:
"Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation" provides a comprehensive framework for analyzing the evolution of cognitive skills and personality traits across the different stages of childhood. Nonparametric identification is shown to hold for a general class of production technologies in which endogeneity of inputs is allowed. A parameterized version of the production function model uses the NLSY79 Children data to estimate the various parameters that govern the trade-offs between early and late investments in producing adult skills. The paper identifies the presence of critical and sensitive periods in the life cycle, indicating that some skills are more easily acquired during certain stages, which in turn matters for optimal timing of investment over the life cycle. It is a powerful demonstration of the value of formal methods in elucidating policy questions of the highest importance.