Honoring a Father of Labor Economics

July 17, 2002, New York Times

(Bericht über IZA Prize in Labor Economics)

More than 100 of JACOB MINCER'S students and colleagues gathered at Columbia University on Monday to honor the professor, who is considered a father of labor economics. The occasion was his 80th birthday — and a surprise award of a new annual prize ($50,000) in labor economics, from the Institute for the Study of Labor, based in Bonn, Germany. KLAUS F. ZIMMERMANN, the institute's director, billed it as a belated Nobel for a giant in the field.

Professor Mincer helped shape techniques to explain phenomena like wage inequality and the growing earnings gap between well-educated workers and those with little schooling. Many of his graduate students have become prominent labor economists. One of them, JAMES J. HECKMAN of the University of Chicago, won a Nobel memorial prize in economics in 2000. Dr. Heckman, one of the conference organizers, said on Monday that the research that earned him the Nobel was a direct descendant of his mentor's pioneering formulations about human capital.

Reprinted with permission.