I never took much notice of James Heckman until recently. From a distinguished professor at the University of Chicago, I have learned that he deserves a Nobel Prize for good sense -- especially while not getting caught up in Chicago fanaticism. His recent articles on early childhood education are excellent. Clement, Douglas. 2005. "Interview with James Heckman." The Region [Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis](June). http://minneapolisfed.org/pubs/region/05-06/heckman.cfm "In economics there's a trend now to come up with cute papers in an effort to be cited as many times as possible. All the incentives point that way, especially for young professors who seem risk-averse rather than risk-taking after they get tenure. In some quarters of our profession, the level of discussion has sunk to the level of a New Yorker article: coffee-table articles about "cute" topics, papers using "clever" instruments. The authors of these papers are usually unclear about the economic questions they address, the data used to support their conclusions and the econometrics used to justify their estimates. This is a sad development that I hope is a passing fad. Most of this work is without substance, but it makes a short-lived splash and it's easy to do. Many young economists are going for the cute and the clever at the expense of working on hard and important foundational problems." "We are making this subject precise. But sometimes I have my doubts. Some of what economists do is to explain to fellow economists what most intelligent people already know. A lot of what economists do is explain to themselves what the rest of the world already knows. There's a real risk of being caught up in that."