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Summer School on Socioeconomic Inequality by James J. Heckman

Summer School on Socioeconomic Inequality

by James J. Heckman


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In 2013, 36 students from universities in seven countries convened for a six-day intensive cross-disciplinary summer school on the study of inequality. The event broke down barriers between theoretical, econometric, and empirical work, and aimed to foster new research collaborations across the globe. Attendees were introduced to existing perspectives on the study of inequality, the latest applicable tools, and the challenges in the research frontier. Lecturers discussed matching, market design, social network analysis, and dynamic structural models, as well as tools from the fields of philosophy and sociology that help to frame questions of interest to policy makers. The ten presenting professors demonstrated applications of these tools to the many segments of society that define inequality between social groups and perpetuate inequality: selection into workplaces and families, social roles in high schools, and the selection of legal interventions. Poster sessions, informal meetings, and meals with the professors provided additional forums for summer school participants to receive feedback on their inequality-related research. According to one student, "The [summer school] experience helped me develop a wish list of tools I want to master and develop a customized reading list to prepare for my dissertation."

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