Mincer, Jacob 1922-2006

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Mincer, Jacob 1922-2006


See index for CA sketch: Born July 15, 1922, in Tomaszow (now Tomaszow Mazowiecki), Poland; died of complications from Parkinson's disease, August 20, 2006, in New York, NY. Economist, educator, and author. Mincer was best known for his groundbreaking research tying education levels to job income. His early years were tragic. Mincer was a sixteen-year-old college freshman studying in Brno in what was then Czechoslovakia when war broke out in Europe. Mincer was imprisoned, and his parents and sisters were killed while fleeing the Germans. After the war, Mincer managed to win a scholarship to study at Emory University. He earned a B.A. there in 1950 before going on to study in Chicago. There he met his future wife, a medical student, and he followed her to Columbia University, where he completed his doctorate in economics in 1957. During the late 1950s, he was an instructor and assistant professor at City College. He then joined the Columbia University faculty, where he was named Buttenweiser Professor of Economics and Human Resources in 1979. Mincer remained at the university until his 1991 retirement. During the 1950s and 1960s, Mincer conducted his most important research. Using the U.S. Census data from 1950 and 1960, he analyzed how levels of education affected income. He determined that every additional year of college-level education resulted in an expected annual income increase of between five and ten percent. Career training at the adult level also resulted in better salaries, though the correlation was not as strong as with a college education. Mincer published his findings in his 1974 book, Schooling, Experience, and Earnings. In later research, he studied how women's roles in contributing to a family affected income levels. Though he was nominated for a Nobel Prize on several occasions, Mincer never won the award. Some of his colleagues attributed this to his unwillingness to promote himself and aggressively publish journal articles. Mincer also wrote The Collected Essays of Jacob Mincer, Studies in Human Capital, and Studies in Labor Supply, all published in 1993.



New York Times, August 23, 2006, p. C12.