James Joseph Heckman is an American economist and Nobel laureate. He is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he has served since 1973. He holds a parallel appointment as director of Social Program Evaluation at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation and Professor of Science and Society at the Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
Heckman's research combines both methodological and empirical techniques in evaluating the impact of a variety of social programs on the economy and on the society at large. He has written on the impact of civil rights and affirmative action programs in the US, on the impact of taxes on labor supply and human capital accumulation, on the impact of public and private job training on earnings and employment, on the impact of unionism on labor markets in developing countries, and on the impact of skill certification programs.
He has also contributed substantially to the literature both in applied and theoretical econometrics. His methodological work on selection bias and on the evaluation of social programs is widely cited, as is his research on the analysis of heterogeneity in consumer preferences and on the analysis of longitudinal data. He published a series of influential papers on the identifiability of broad classes of econometric models.
Heckman has received numerous honors for his research. He received the John Bates Clark Award from the American Economic Association in 1983. In 2000, he was joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics for his development of theory and methods for analyzing selective samples.
He is an editor of the Journal of Political Economy and Annual Review of Economics. He is currently president of the Econometric Society. He is also a fellow of the Society of Labor Economics, the American Statistical Association, and the International Statistical Institute; and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.