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Giving Kids a Fair Chance (Boston Review Books) Hardcover – March 22, 2013


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Giving Kids a Fair Chance (Boston Review Books) + Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies? (Alvin Hansen Symposium on Public Policy at Harvard University)
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Product Details

  • Series: Boston Review Books
  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (March 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262019132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262019132
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #502,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

" Giving Kids a Fair Chance is remarkable for the scientific advances that it represents, in good part due to Heckman and his co-authors.... The book stands out among economic studies in its attention to noncognitive skills, 'including strength of motivation, an ability to act on long-term plans, and the socioemotional regulation needed to work with others' or 'character.'" -- Science

About the Author

James J. Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. He was a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences in 2000. He is the coauthor (with Alan B. Krueger) of Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies? (MIT Press).

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Heckman writes for a very wide range of audiences, so you need to know what you're getting. The man is a Nobel Laureate in economics and a demigod in the statistics literature, so it isn't hard to find work of his that is challenging even for someone with a PhD in economics. But he also engages with a broader audience, and this particular book is aimed at a much wider audience. It ought to be accessible to undergraduates, or even advanced high school students. It's a good starting point for learning about the subject, but it's not aimed at people who are already familiar with it.

The book also differs from much of his writing in that it has a very explicit policy agenda: devote more resources to early childhood education. It lays out the arguments and evidence for early childhood education in a very quick, very readable way. It then offers short rebuttals/comments/extensions by a wide range of scholars and by Charles Murray, followed by Heckman's response to them. The book thus offers an excellent opportunity to get a wide range of snapshots about how academics approach the policy issue of whether to devote a lot of money to expanded pre-school offerings. I could imagine assigning this book to undergraduates, but it isn't advanced enough for my graduate students.

So, for the right audience, this book is four stars. These debates are important and need to be presented at the intelligent, interested non-specialist level.

However, if you're already familiar with Heckman's earlier work, this doesn't add much. It's somewhat depressing how little is added to Heckman, Krueger, and Friedman (2005), Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies?
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ruben Estrada Orozco on May 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I gave this book only two stars because it didn't meet my expectations.
This book is divided into three parts.
I read the first part directly from amazon ("look inside" feature) and thought it was a pretty good introduction on the topic. However, I got very disappointed when I found out that the first part was the central part of the book and that the remaining two parts did not develop on the ideas and topics presented in the first chapter. Instead, the second part of the book is filled up with short essays from other people (mainly scholars) criticizing Heckman's ideas. Finally, the third and last part is a (very short) response from Heckman to those essays.
Maybe it's my fault because I didn't put much attention to the "contents" part of the book. I wouldn't recommend the book unless you are looking for a very brief discussion on the topic. If you expect a detailed explanation about Heckman's research and the Perry and Abecedarian early intervention child programs, you'll be as disappointed as I was.
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By Fernando J. Amarante on February 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A scientific approach to probably the most important of our 'building future" assignment.
Even though it takes so many years to prove what equips kids for a better chance to construct their future, the high level discussion the book offers, put this important quest at the center of our attention, where it belongs.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan Jackson on July 5, 2013
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Noble Prize winner suggests evidence-based changes to the Education system to help children in poverty succeed. Other voices are allowed to critique. It is a great way too examine an issue that has a lot of theory attached to it but, sadly, little practical evidence.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth vaughan on August 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
it was not focused on the exact topic that i thought it was, i thought it would talk more about the idea that leveling does not give everyone the same chance. it talked mostly about elementary students and i wanted info about older students
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