America’s ‘soft-skills problem’ is topic of lecture

“Hard Evidence on Soft Skills: The GED and the Problem of Soft Skills in America” is the title of this year’s James A. Thomas Lecture, which will be delivered on Monday, Nov. 1, by University of Chicago economics professor and Nobel Prize winner James Heckman.

The talk will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Rm. 127 of the Yale Law School, 127 Wall St. It is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the Alumni Reading Room. Those interested in attending should RSVP by Oct. 27 to

Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. In 2000, he won the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. He directs the Economics Research Center and the Center for Social Program Evaluation at the Harris School for Public Policy. In addition he is the professor of science and society at University College-Dublin and a senior research fellow at the American Bar Foundation.

Heckman’s work has been devoted to the development of a scientific basis for economic policy evaluation. It has given policymakers new insights into areas such as education, job training, the importance of accounting for general equilibrium in the analysis of labor markets, anti-discrimination law and civil rights. He is the author of several books, including, most recently, “Global Perspectives on the Rule of Law” and the forthcoming “Hard Evidence on Soft Skills: The GED and the Problem of Soft Skills in America.”

The James A. Thomas Lecture was established in 1989 in honor of Dean James A. Thomas ‘64 and his many years of service to Yale Law School. It brings to the school a scholar whose work addresses the concerns of communities or groups currently marginalized within the legal academy or society at large.

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