STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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This special reporting project wrapped up in May 2017. Read more.

Nobel-winning economist says invest in people, not potholes

Tomorrow I'm scheduled to sit down with economist James Heckman of the University of Chicago. Heckman won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2000 for a statistical model he developed in the field of econometrics. But in recent years, Heckman has become famous for something else. He is perhaps the leading advocate in the U.S. for investing in early childhood. Heckman has run the numbers in an impressive number of academic papers, and he says there's almost no better way for a society to spend its money than on early childhood.  

"There are many projects out there, but few have the rate of return of early childhood investments," Heckman says. 

Check out this video for a preview of why Heckman thinks early childhood education is so important, and stay tuned in the coming weeks for my interview: 

Dustin Dwyer is a reporter on the State of Opportunity project, based in Grand Rapids. Previously, he worked as an online journalist for Changing Gears, as a freelance reporter and as Michigan Radio's West Michigan Reporter. Before he joined Michigan Radio, Dustin interned at NPR's Talk of the Nation, wrote freelance stories for The Jackson Citizen-Patriot and completed a Reporting & Writing Fellowship at the Poynter Institute.
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