On May 18, Professor James J. Heckman, 2000 Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics and the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, visited IESR on Shipai Campus of Jinan University. This marks the sixth time Professor Heckman has visited IESR, of which he has served as the Chair of Advisory Board since its foundation in 2015.
He delivered a lecture entitled “Interactions as Investments: The Microdynamics and Measurement of Early Childhood Learning” at the International Conference Hall, with over 3500 participants on-site and on-line. Professor Heckman introduced “China REACH” (Rural Education and Child Health Project), a home-visiting project and showed the empirical results of the mechanism of skill development. In his speech, he emphasized the essential role played by parents in the early stage of the formation of their children’s skills.
After the lecture, Professor Heckman had face-to-face discussions with six students of “Talents Training Program in Economics”, a special program initiated by IESR to tap the research potentials of undergraduate students. The student representatives consulted Professor Heckman on topics including employment, education, aging problem and finance, and were inspired by the insights of the prestigious economist. Professor Heckman was also highly impressed by the students’ vision and their active involvement in the society.
In the past 8 years, Prof. Heckman has worked closely with IESR. In March 2016, Professor Heckman visited IESR for the first time and set the foundation for IESR’s future cooperation with the University of Chicago. In June 2016, IESR and HCEO co-organized the first Guangzhou Summer School on Socioeconomic Inequality, which continued as a collaborative summer event to today. In September 2016, IESR and CEHD co-launched the Longitudinal Study of Children’s Development in Mianzhu, to explore how to measure the traits, skills, and preferences that determine important life outcomes for children. In July 2018, IESR and CEHD formally co-launched the Chicago–Jinan Joint Initiative on the Study of Human Development, which served as research home for our students/faculty and for visiting scholars from guest institutions. Professor Heckman’s cooperation with IESR continued despite the pandemic period. He participated in IESR’s online event such as Forum of Children of Migrants to share his latest research. IESR is looking forward to welcoming more international-renown scholars in the future.