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Presentation of the RGHC

Since Gary Becker’s seminal work, economists pay special attention to human capital and its related issues. Human capital, which emcompasses and individual’s skills, knowledge and experience, is at the heart of the relation between an individual and the labor market. Indeed, investments in human capital, made through education, training and good health, are rewarded on the labor market via earnings. As such, a number of issues closely or loosely linked to the labor market can be looked at through the prism of human capital. Among those issues, we can think of education, be it at the preschool, primary, secondary or post-secondary level, and its return in terms of wages; well-being, both mental and physical, and its influence on one’s ability to earn a living; training, either on-the-job, thus translated into a worker’s experience and seniority within a company, or through training or job-finding programs. We can also think of the whole host of public policies that related to the labor market and to human capital, which can be evaluated through the lense of human capital: education policies, like the recent school reform in Quebec, the tuition fees and post-secondary education accessibility; policies aimed at the development of children and women’s work, such as Quebec’s family policy, with its subsidized daycare centers, its child care tax credits and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan; or policies aiming to integrate immigrants on the labor market and to recognize their foreign diplomas and skills.

The Research Group on Human Capital studies these diverse facets of human capital, by focusing on a microeconomic and microeconometric approach. The Group’s research is primarily empirical, based on microdata from Statistics Canada or the Institut de la statistique du Québec or on administrative data.