Skill Formation and the Economics of Investing in Disadvantaged Children

This 2006 paper from University of Chicago economist James Heckman summarizes the research on the effects of early environments on child, adolescent and adult achievement—reinforcing the finding that “investing” early in life brings the greatest returns. Heckman’s ongoing research has fueled advocates’ efforts to convince policymakers that spending money on high-quality early learning and child development programs is wiser than many other economic development strategies.