Author(s)  
James J. Heckman

Understanding inequality and devising policies to alleviate it was a central focus of Jan Tinbergen's lifetime research. He was far ahead of his time in many aspects of his work. This essay places his work in the perspective of research on inequality in his time and now, focusing on his studies on the pricing of skills and the evolution of skill prices. In his most fundamental contribution, Tinbergen developed the modern framework for hedonic models as part of his agenda for integrating demand and supply for skills to study determination of earnings and its distribution and the design of effective policy. His lifetime emphasis on social planning caused some economists to ignore his fundamental work.

JEL Codes  
B31: History of Economic Thought: Individuals
D31: Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
D33: Factor Income Distribution
D63: Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
I24: Education and Inequality
J20: Demand and Supply of Labor: General
P21: Socialist Systems and Transitional Economies: Planning, Coordination, and Reform
Keywords  
income inequality
hedonic models
general equilibrium
models of inequality