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Jacob Mincer

Jacob Mincer

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Jacob Mincer was a father of modern labor economics. He was Joseph L. Buttenwiser Professor of Economics and Social Relations at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 for most of his active life.

Biography


Born in Tomaszów
Tomaszów
Tomaszów may refer to the following places in Poland:* Tomaszów Lubelski, a town in Lublin Voivodeship* Tomaszów Mazowiecki, a town in Łódź Voivodeship*Tomaszów, Lublin Voivodeship *Tomaszów, Opoczno County in Łódź Voivodeship...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Mincer survived World War II prison camps
Internment
Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

 in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 as a teenager. After graduating from Emory University
Emory University
Emory University is a private research university in metropolitan Atlanta, located in the Druid Hills section of unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. The university was founded as Emory College in 1836 in Oxford, Georgia by a small group of Methodists and was named in honor of...

 in 1950, Mincer received his Ph.D. from Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 in 1957.

Following teaching stints at City College of New York
City College of New York
The City College of the City University of New York is a senior college of the City University of New York , in New York City. It is also the oldest of the City University's twenty-three institutions of higher learning...

, Hebrew University, Stockholm School of Economics and the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

, Mincer joined Columbia's faculty where he stayed until his retirement in 1991. In his retirement, he especially enjoyed a cold glass of buttermilk on a hot summer day and entertaining his grandchildren by wiggling his ears.

Mincer was also a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research
National Bureau of Economic Research
The National Bureau of Economic Research is an American private nonprofit research organization "committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community." The NBER is well known for providing start and end...

 from 1960 through his death.

Mincer died at his Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 home on August 20, 2006 due to complications from Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system...

, according to his wife, Dr. Flora Mincer, and his daughters, Deborah Mincer (Sussman) and Carolyn Mincer.

Contributions to Economic Science


Mincer was considered by many to be a father of modern labor economics. As a leading member of a group of economists known as the Chicago School of Economics, Mincer and Nobel Laureate Gary Becker
Gary Becker
Gary Stanley Becker is an American economist. He is a professor of economics, sociology at the University of Chicago and a professor at the Booth School of Business. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992, and received the United States' Presidential Medal of Freedom...

 helped to develop the empirical foundations of human capital
Human capital
Human capitalis the stock of competencies, knowledge and personality attributes embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. It is the attributes gained by a worker through education and experience...

 theory, consequently revolutionizing the field of labor economics.

During his academic career, Mincer authored four books and hundreds of journal articles, papers and essays. Mincer's ground-breaking work: Schooling, Experience and Earnings, published in 1974, used data from the 1950 and 1960 Censuses to relate income distribution in America to the varying amounts of education and on-the-job training among workers. "He calculated, for example, that annual earnings rose by 5 to 10 percent in the 1950's and 1960's for every year of additional schooling. There was a similar, although smaller, return on investment in job training—and age played a role."

Mincer's work continues to have a profound impact on the field of labor economics. Papers in the field frequently use Mincerian Equations, which model wages as a function of human capital
Human capital
Human capitalis the stock of competencies, knowledge and personality attributes embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. It is the attributes gained by a worker through education and experience...

 in statistical estimation. And as a result of Mincer's pioneering work, variables such as schooling and work experience are now the most commonly used measures of human capital.

Awards and Prizes


In 1991, Mincer received an honorary
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

 Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 which recognized his seminal work in the economic analysis of earnings and inequality
Economic inequality
Economic inequality comprises all disparities in the distribution of economic assets and income. The term typically refers to inequality among individuals and groups within a society, but can also refer to inequality among countries. The issue of economic inequality is related to the ideas of...

, the labor force
Labor force
In economics, a labor force or labour force is a region's combined civilian workforce, including both the employed and unemployed.Normally, the labor force of a country consists of everyone of working age In economics, a labor force or labour force is a region's combined civilian workforce,...

 decisions of women and of job
Job (role)
A job is a regular activity performed in exchange for payment. A person usually begins a job by becoming an employee, volunteering, or starting a business. The duration of a job may range from an hour to a lifetime . If a person is trained for a certain type of job, they may have a profession...

 mobility
Mobility
Mobility may refer to:* Mobility * "Mobiliy" , a song by Moby* Mobility * Mobility , the ability of military units or weapon systems to move to an objective-See also:* Academic mobility* Apprentices mobility...

. The citation for the degree also recognized Mincer's work in this area that has helped guide a generation of economists who study these important social questions.

In recognition of his lifetime achievements in economics, Mincer was awarded the first IZA Prize in Labor Economics of the Institute for the Study of Labor
Institute for the Study of Labor
The Institute for the Study of Labor is a private, independent economic research institute. It was founded under the legal form of a limited liability company. Its German name is Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit hence the abbreviation IZA...

 (Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

, Germany). The $50,000 prize was presented to Mincer by more than 100 of his former students at a conference at Columbia University in 2002.

In 2004 Mincer received a Career Achievement Award from the University of Chicago's Society of Labor Economists; the annual award has subsequently become known as the Mincer Award
Mincer Award
In 2004 Jacob Mincer received a Career Achievement Award from the University of Chicago's Society of Labor Economists . The annual award has subsequently become known as the "Mincer Award", and is given annually to an individual that has made a lifetime of important contributions to the field of...

.

Although Mincer was never awarded a Nobel Prize, because he was considered one of the world's greatest economists of the 20th century, he was nominated for the award numerous times by admiring colleagues.

Quotes Regarding Mincer


External links