IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions That Improve Character and Cognition

  • James Heckman

    ()

    (University of Chicago)

  • Tim Kautz

    ()

    (University of Chicago)

This paper reviews the recent literature on measuring and boosting cognitive and noncognitive skills. The literature establishes that achievement tests do not adequately capture character skills--personality traits, goals, motivations, and preferences--that are valued in the labor market, in school, and in many other domains. Their predictive power rivals that of cognitive skills. Reliable measures of character have been developed. All measures of character and cognition are measures of performance on some task. In order to reliably estimate skills from tasks, it is necessary to standardize for incentives, effort, and other skills when measuring any particular skill. Character is a skill, not a trait. At any age, character skills are stable across different tasks, but skills can change over the life cycle. Character is shaped by families, schools, and social environments. Skill development is a dynamic process, in which the early years lay the foundation for successful investment in later years. High-quality early childhood and elementary school programs improve character skills in a lasting and cost-effective way. Many of them beneficially affect later-life outcomes without improving cognition. There are fewer long-term evaluations of adolescent interventions, but workplace-based programs that teach character skills are promising. The common feature of successful interventions across all stages of the life cycle through adulthood is that they promote attachment and provide a secure base for exploration and learning for the child. Successful interventions emulate the mentoring environments offered by successful families.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Heckman_Kautz_2013_fostering-measuring-skills.pdf
File Function: First version, 11/9/2013
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group in its series Working Papers with number 2013-019.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2013-019
Note: ECI
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.hceconomics.org/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Heckman, James J. & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter, 2012. "Understanding the Mechanisms Through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 7040, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  3. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2009. "The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human Development," Working Papers 200934, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  4. repec:mpr:mprres:2737 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Holmlund, Helena & Silva, Olmo, 2009. "Targeting Non-Cognitive Skills to Improve Cognitive Outcomes: Evidence from a Remedial Education Intervention," IZA Discussion Papers 4476, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. James J. Heckman, 2008. "Schools, Skills, and Synapses," Working Papers 200833, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  7. N/A, 1993. "Commentary," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 146(1), pages 3-6, November.
  8. Carmit Segal, 2006. "Motivation, test scores and economic success," Economics Working Papers 1124, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2008.
  9. repec:mpr:mprres:6673 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2009. "The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program," Working Papers 200936, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  11. Temple, Judy A. & Reynolds, Arthur J., 2007. "Benefits and costs of investments in preschool education: Evidence from the Child-Parent Centers and related programs," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 126-144, February.
  12. Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J. & Mullen, K.J.Kathleen J., 2004. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 39-98.
  13. repec:mpr:mprres:2951 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 12840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  16. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 15664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.), 2011. "Handbook of the Economics of Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 4, number 4, December.
  19. Borghans, Lex & Meijers, Huub & ter Weel, Bas, 2006. "The Role of Noncognitive Skills in Explaining Cognitive Test Scores," IZA Discussion Papers 2429, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Eric A. Hanushek, 2003. "The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F64-F98, February.
  21. Sara Mclanahan, 2004. "Diverging destinies: How children are faring under the second demographic transition," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(4), pages 607-627, November.
  22. Martins, Pedro S., 2010. "Can Targeted, Non-Cognitive Skills Programs Improve Achievement? Evidence from EPIS," IZA Discussion Papers 5266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Borghans Lex & Golsteyn Bart H.H. & Heckman James & Humphries John Eric, 2011. "Identification Problems in Personality Psychology," Research Memorandum 025, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  24. Montizaan, Raymond & Vendrik, Maarten C.M., 2012. "Misery Loves Company: Exogenous Shocks in Retirement Expectations and Social Comparison Effects on Subjective Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 6863, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. N/A, 1993. "Commentary," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 145(1), pages 3-5, August.
  26. Anke Becker & Thomas Deckers & Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse, 2012. "The Relationship Between Economic Preferences and Psychological Personality Measures," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 453-478, 07.
  27. Wolter, Stefan C. & Ryan, Paul, 2011. "Apprenticeship," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  28. James Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2010. "Analyzing social experiments as implemented: A reexamination of the evidence from the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 1-46, 07.
  29. Chetty, Raj & Friedman, John Norton & Hilger, Nathanial & Saez, Emmanuel & Schanzenbach, Dianne Whitmore & Yagan, Danny, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," Scholarly Articles 9639983, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  30. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. James J. Heckman & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children," NBER Working Papers 13016, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Groot, Wim, 2000. "Adaptation and scale of reference bias in self-assessments of quality of life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 403-420, May.
  34. Becker, A. & Deckers, T. & Dohmen, T.J. & Falk, A. & Kosse, F., 2012. "The relationship between economic preferences and psychological personality measures," ROA Research Memorandum 12, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  35. Alan B. Krueger, 2003. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F34-F63, February.
  36. Harhoff, Dietmar & Kane, Thomas J., 1995. "Is the German apprenticeship system a panacea for the US labour market?," ZEW Discussion Papers 95-19, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  37. Pedro Carneiro & Rita Ginja, 2012. "Long term impacts of compensatory preschool on health and behavior: evidence from Head Start," CeMMAP working papers CWP01/12, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  38. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2011. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 749-804.
  39. Jerome Adda & Christian Dustmann & Costas Meghir & Jean-Marc Robin, 2013. "Career Progression, Economic Downturns, and Skills," NBER Working Papers 18832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  40. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  41. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
  42. Jeffrey Zabel & Saul Schwartz & Stephen Donald, 2010. "The impact of the Self-Sufficiency Project on the employment behaviour of former welfare recipients," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(3), pages 882-918, August.
  43. Rainer Winkelmann, 1996. "Employment Prospects and Skill Acquisition of Apprenticeship-Trained Workers in Germany," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(4), pages 658-672, July.
  44. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-34, July.
  45. repec:mpr:mprres:7391 is not listed on IDEAS
  46. Peter Z. Schochet & John Burghardt & Sheena McConnell, 2008. "Does Job Corps Work? Impact Findings from the National Job Corps Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1864-86, December.
  47. Stasz, Cathleen, 2001. "Assessing Skills for Work: Two Perspectives," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 385-405, July.
  48. Núria Rodríguez-Planas, 2012. "Longer-Term Impacts of Mentoring, Educational Services, and Learning Incentives: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in the United States," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 121-39, October.
  49. James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries & Sergio Urzua & Gregory Veramendi, 2010. "The effects of educational choices on labor market, health, and social outcomes," Working Papers 2011-002, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  50. Peter Gottschalk, 2005. "Can work alter welfare recipients' beliefs?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(3), pages 485-498.
  51. Núria Rodríquez-Planas, 2010. "Mentoring, Educational Services, and Economic Incentives Longer-term Evidence on Risky Behaviors from a Randomized Trial," Working Papers 462, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  52. N/A, 1993. "Commentary," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 144(1), pages 3-11, May.
  53. J. Bradford DeLong & Konstantin Magin, 2009. "The U.S. Equity Return Premium: Past, Present, and Future," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 193-208, Winter.
  54. A. J. Reynolds & J. A. Temple, . "Extended early childhood intervention and school achievement: Age 13 findings from the Chicago longitudinal study," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1095-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  55. Lex Borghans & Bart H.H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity," Working Papers 200903, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  56. Nikolay Nenovsky & S. Statev, 2006. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00260898, HAL.
  57. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2009. "The Economics & Psychology of Inequality and Human Development," Working Papers 200905, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  58. Regula Geel & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Occupational Mobility Within and Between Skill Clusters: An Empirical Analysis Based on the Skill-Weights Approach," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0047, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  59. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2012. "Non-Cognitive Ability, Test Scores, and Teacher Quality: Evidence from 9th Grade Teachers in North Carolina," NBER Working Papers 18624, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  60. M. Ruth & K. Donaghy & P. Kirshen, 2006. "Introduction," Chapters, in: Regional Climate Change and Variability, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  61. Spiros Bougheas & Yannis Georgellis, 2004. "Early Career Mobility and Earnings Profiles of German Apprentices: Theory and Empirical Evidence," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 18(2), pages 233-263, 06.
  62. Cooke, L. P., 2003. "A comparison of initial and early life course earnings of the German secondary education and training system," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 79-88, February.
  63. N/A, 1993. "Commentary," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 143(1), pages 3-7, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2013-019. 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: (Jennifer Pachon)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.