Lectio magistralis. Investing in our Young People: Lessons from Economics and Psychology
A full understanding of child development draws on knowledge from economics and psychology. Both cognitive and noncognitive capabilities produce a variety of behaviors and outcomes. An emerging literature relates psychological measurements of personality and cognition to economic preference parameters and extends conventional preference specifications in economics. Comparative advantage is an empirically important feature of economic and social life. The same bundle of personal traits has different productivity in different tasks, and people with different bundles sort into tasks according to their comparative advantage. Recent empirical work on the technology of capability formation provides an operational empirical framework that captures these ideas (see Cunha and Heckman, 2009). Capabilities are not invariant traits and are causally affected by parental investment and early social environments. Moreover, capabilities are not solely situational specific. They are stable, but they evolve over the life cycle. Measures of capabilities should standardize for the environments in which they are taken – a basic tenet of science. Otherwise traits may appear to be unstable across situations (Borghans - Duckworth - Heckman - ter Weel, 2008). The technology of capability formation rationalizes a large body of evidence in economics, psychology, and neuroscience. Capabilities are self-productive and crossproductive. Synergies in the technology (2) explain why it is so productive to invest in the cognitive skills of disadvantaged young children but why the payoffs are so low for cognitive investments in disadvantaged older children and are even lower for disadvantaged adults. There is no equity-efficiency trade-off for investment in the capabilities of young disadvantaged children. There is a substantial equity-efficiency trade-off for investment in the capabilities of older disadvantaged children. Later remediation should focus on fostering noncognitive traits related to personality.
Volume (Year): 117 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| |
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:vep:journl:y:2009:v:117:i:3:p:365-386. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Vep - Vita e Pensiero)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.