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One Step at a Time: The Effects of an Early Literacy Text Messaging Program for Parents of Preschoolers

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  • Benjamin N. York
  • Susanna Loeb

Abstract

Large systematic differences in young children’s home learning experiences have long-term economic consequences. Many parenting programs place significant demands on parents’ time and inundate parents with information. This study evaluates the effects of READY4K!, an eight-month-long text-messaging intervention for parents of preschoolers that targets the behavioral barriers to engaged parenting. We find that READY4K! increased parental involvement at home and school by 0.15 to 0.29 standard deviations, leading to child gains in early literacy of about 0.11 standard deviations. The results point to the salience of behavioral barriers to parenting and the potential for low-cost interventions to reduce these barriers.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin N. York & Susanna Loeb, 2014. "One Step at a Time: The Effects of an Early Literacy Text Messaging Program for Parents of Preschoolers," NBER Working Papers 20659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20659
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Castleman, Benjamin L. & Page, Lindsay C., 2015. "Summer nudging: Can personalized text messages and peer mentor outreach increase college going among low-income high school graduates?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 144-160.
    2. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. "Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
    3. Christopher Avery & Thomas J. Kane, 2004. "Student Perceptions of College Opportunities. The Boston COACH Program," NBER Chapters,in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 355-394 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long & Philip Oreopoulos & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2012. "The Role of Application Assistance and Information in College Decisions: Results from the H&R Block Fafsa Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1205-1242.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:313-342 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2018. "Nudging in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 313-342.
    3. Committee, Nobel Prize, 2017. "Richard H. Thaler: Integrating Economics with Psychology," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2017-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
    4. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2015. "Parental Incentives and Early Childhood Achievement: A Field Experiment in Chicago Heights," NBER Working Papers 21477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Peter Leopold S. Bergman & Eric W. Chan, 2017. "Leveraging Technology to Engage Parents at Scale: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," CESifo Working Paper Series 6493, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Page, Lindsay C. & Scott-Clayton, Judith, 2016. "Improving college access in the United States: Barriers and policy responses," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 4-22.
    7. Cass Sunstein, 2015. "Nudges Do Not Undermine Human Agency," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 207-210, September.
    8. Fryer, Roland G., 2016. "Information, non-financial incentives, and student achievement: Evidence from a text messaging experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 109-121.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development

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