Flávio Cunha is a Professor of Economics. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2007 and taught at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the economics faculty at Rice. His areas of expertise are labor economics with special emphasis on human capital formation. He was recently awarded the Econometric Society's Frisch Medal for "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," a paper published in Econometrica that he wrote with Dr. James Heckman and Dr. Susanne M. Schennach.
Professor Cunha's most recent research program focuses on the causes and consequences of inequality and poverty, especially the quantification of degree to which labor income inequality is the result of the preexisting heterogeneity present across workers before they enter the labor market versus how much is due to labor market shocks. He is also studying the importance of investments in cognitive and noncognitive skills in explaining the heterogeneity that determines labor market inequality. His on-going research project, the Philadelphia Human Development Study, aims to understand the role played by parental expectations about the returns to investing in children affect actual investment decisions.