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The Impact of Non-Cognitive Skills Training on Academic and Non-academic Trajectories: From Childhood to Early Adulthood

Author

Listed:
  • Yann Algan

    (Département d'économie)

  • Elizabeth Beasley

    (Département d'économie)

  • Frank Vitaro

    (Université de Montréal (UdeM))

  • Richard E Tremblay

    (University College Dublin [Dublin])

Abstract

Non-cognitive skills are closely associated with adult socio-economic success. However, it is unclear whether interventions targeting those skills, rather than cognitive skills, can improve adult outcomes. It is also unclear whether interventions after early childhood can have lasting effects. We show that an intervention focused solely on non-cognitive skills at age 7 can change the lifetime trajectories for children with deficits of non-cognitive skills, increasing self-control and trust in adolescence, improving education achievement, and outcomes in early adulthood such as criminality, education, employment and social capital. We show that improvements in trust and self-control explain much of the impact on education and young adult outcomes, and argue that social skills are an important but neglected aspect of non-cognitive skill development. Using conservative assumptions in a simple framework, we estimate that, as a lower bound, $1 invested in this program yields about $14 in benefits over the lifetime of the participants.

Suggested Citation

  • Yann Algan & Elizabeth Beasley & Frank Vitaro & Richard E Tremblay, 2014. "The Impact of Non-Cognitive Skills Training on Academic and Non-academic Trajectories: From Childhood to Early Adulthood," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/6s39gt704s9, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/6s39gt704s95upu27ma7s3p6q8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Nathaniel Hilger & Emmanuel Saez & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Danny Yagan, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1593-1660.
    3. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 159-208.
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    5. 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).
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    9. 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, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zlata Bruckauf & Nóirín Hayes & UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, 2017. "Quality of Childcare and Pre-Primary Education: How do we measure it?," Papers inores897, Innocenti Research Briefs.

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