Capabilities and Skills

32 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2016

See all articles by James J. Heckman

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Chase Corbin

University of Chicago

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Abstract

This paper discusses the relevance of recent research on the economics of human development to the work of the Human Development and Capability Association. The recent economics of human development brings insights about the dynamics of skill accumulation to an otherwise static literature on capabilities. Skills embodied in agents empower people. Enhanced skills enhance opportunities and hence promote capabilities. We address measurement problems common to both the economics of human development and the capability approach. The economics of human development analyzes the dynamics of preference formation, but is silent about which preferences should be used to evaluate alternative policies. This is both a strength and a limitation of the approach.

Keywords: skills, capabilities, freedom, technology of skill formation

JEL Classification: D63, D04, D31, I31

Suggested Citation

Heckman, James J. and Corbin, Chase, Capabilities and Skills. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2803837

James J. Heckman (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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American Bar Foundation

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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Chase Corbin

University of Chicago

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Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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