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Nobel Prize Winner James J. Heckman Opens "Distinguished Lecture Series in Labor Science"

In the morning of Jun. 27, Professor James Heckman opened "Distinguished Lecture Series in Labor Science" at Renmin University of China. He gave the inaugural lecture entitled "Hard Evidence on Soft Skills". Professor Zhao Zhong from School of Labor and Human Resources chaired the lecture.

Professor Zeng Xiangquan, dean of School of Labor and Human Resources introduced Professor Heckman and welcomed faculty members and students. He briefly introduced academic achievements of Professor Heckman and and new developments in the field of soft skills.

In the field of phycology and related areas, scholars tend to realize that intelligence quotient is not the only factor which determines personal achievement; personality characteristics also play important roles. In the field of labor economics, understanding the impact of soft skills, such as concentration, responsibility and self control, is becoming a research frontier of this field. To understand and to investigate this topic further need adopt an interdisciplinary between economics and phycology. Professor Heckman has conducted extensive research on this field and made outstanding contributions.

In the lecture, Professor James Heckman briefly reviewed the history of personality characteristics psychology. He introduced "Big Five" model and summarized the related research on personality characteristics in phycology, then came the recognition that responsibility in "Big Five" model has the most obvious effect on personal achievement. He also preliminarily confirmed that personality characteristics influence personal achievement and behavioral outcome through related approaches.

Meanwhile, Professor Heckman pointed out problems that measuring index is not unified and consistent in the research on psychology, and he tried to frame the economic structure to define and measure personality characteristics.

Professor Heckman thought that personal characteristics will change in one's life, and the theory model based on this is further developed as a life circle model of human capital investment. In this life circle model, Professor Heckman discussed the key and sensitive period of human capital investment.

At the end of the lecture, Professor Heckman made a summary, in the process of combination between economics and psychology, researchers need to call in questions on measuring system, work out better data collecting system and elaborate the basic recognition in this field.

In the Q&A session, faculty members and students interacted with Professor Heckman deeply around the topic of the specific influence of personality characteristics on personal achievements and so on. The lecture showed original ideas and was warmly welcomed.

James Heckman is a professor at University of Chicago, and he is also a honorary professor at RUC. He received the John Bates Clark Medal in 1983 and won the Nobel Prize in 2000. Professor James Heckman has published widely in the field of labor economics and econometrics. His research areas are wages and labor supply, human capital theory, social program evaluation and sample selection model. Professor Heckman's research has produced great influence in economics around the world.

"Distinguished Lecture Series in Labor Science"is a high level academic platform initiated by School of Labor and Human Resources. The series will invite famous scholars who has made great contribution to the field of labor discipline research to give lectures on important topics. This sereis aimes to promote deep communication and development in labor science.

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