“Have-not” takes on a different meaning in James Heckman essay on disadvantaged children — the scarce resource is quality of parenting

In the current Boston Review, University of Chicago economist and Nobel Laureate James J. Heckman makes a powerful argument for social policy to improve the early lives of disadvantaged children.

He asks a series of questions to consider before implementing such a policy. The first is “Who should be targeted?” It is, of course, the disadvantaged.

Now, we all know that “disadvantaged” is often another word for “poverty”. But Heckman points out something very important: The “proper measure of being disadvantaged,” he notes, doesn’t necessarily mean the lack of money or even parents’ education.

“The available evidence suggests that the quality of parenting is the important scarce resource,”

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