Jacob Mincer 101: The Father of Modern Labour Economics
Zatrun Published at April 18, 2023

Jacob Mincer 101: Who is the Father of the Modern Labor Economy? In this article on, we will cover in detail everything you need to know about Jacob Mincer, the father of modern labor economics, who our readers are curious about.

Who is Jacob Mincer?

August July 15, 1922 – August 20, 2006) was the father of modern labour economics. He spent most of his active career at Columbia University under Joseph L. Buttenwieser spent his time as a Professor of Economics and Social Relations. Born in Tomaszów Lubelski, Poland, Mincer was born in Czechia. He survived two prisoner-of-war camps in World War II. He graduated from Emory University in 1950 and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1957.

After teaching at the City College of New York, the Hebrew University, the Stockholm School of Economics and the University of Chicago, Mincer joined the Columbia faculty in 1959. After that, he stayed here until his retirement in 1991. He was also a member of the National Economic Bureau from 1960 until his death. Mincer died at his home in Manhattan on August 20, 2006 due to complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Contributions to the Economic Theory

Jacob Mincer was considered the father of modern labour economics and one of the leading members of the group of economists known as the Chicago School of Economics. Together with Nobel laureate Gary Becker, he helped develop the empirical foundations of the theory of human capital, which led to a revolution in the field of labour economics.

Mincer has written four books and hundreds of journal articles, papers, and essays during his academic career. His ground-breaking 1974 study, “School, Experience, and Earnings”, used data from the 1950 and 1960 censuses in the United States, linking income distribution with varying levels of education among workers and on-the-job training. For example, he calculated those earnings increased October 5 to 10 percent per year for each additional school year in the 1950s and 1960s. There was a similar but smaller return on investment to job training, and age also played a role.

Mincer’s work continues to have a profound impact on the field of labour economics. Articles in this field usually use Mincer equations, which model wages as a function of human capital, especially education and work experience. As a result of Jacob Mincer’s pioneering work, variables such as education and work experiences are now among the most used criteria of human capital.

His Achievements

Jacob Mincer has been recognised with many awards throughout his career. he was elected a member of the American Statistical Association in 1967. In 1991, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Chicago for her ground-breaking work in analysing earnings and inequality, women’s workforce decisions, and job mobility. The degree also appreciated Mincer’s contributions in guiding a generation of economists studying important social issues.

As a proof of his lifetime achievements in economics, Mincer was awarded the first IZA Award in the field of Labor Economics by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) located in Bonn, Germany. The $50,000 prize was presented to Mincer at a conference attended by more than 100 former students and colleagues at Columbia University in 2002.

in 2004, Mincer was awarded the Career Achievement Award of the Association of Labor Economists, which would later be known as the Mincer Award. Although he is considered one of the greatest economists of the century and was nominated for the Nobel Prize by his colleagues several times, Mincer was never awarded the Nobel Prize.

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