nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2017‒08‒27
three papers chosen by

  1. Crime and Violence: Desensitization in Victims to Watching Criminal Events By Rafael Di Tella; Lucia Freira; Ramiro H. Gálvez; Ernesto Schargrodsky; Diego Shalom; Mariano Sigman
  2. The First 2,000 Days and Child Skills: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment of Home Visiting By Orla Doyle
  3. Can Non-Cognitive Skills Programs Improve Achievement? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from EPIS By Martins, Pedro S.

  1. By: Rafael Di Tella; Lucia Freira; Ramiro H. Gálvez; Ernesto Schargrodsky; Diego Shalom; Mariano Sigman
    Abstract: We study desensitization to crime in a lab experiment by showing footage of criminal acts to a group of subjects, some of whom have been previously victimized. We measure biological markers of stress and behavioral indices of cognitive control before and after treated participants watch a series of real, crime-related videos (while the control group watches non-crime-related videos). Not previously victimized participants exposed to the treatment video show significant changes in cortisol level, heart rate, and measures of cognitive control. Instead, previously victimized individuals who are exposed to the treatment video show biological markers and cognitive performance comparable to those measured in individuals exposed to the control video. These results suggest a phenomenon of desensitization or habituation of victims to crime exposure.
    JEL: K42
    Date: 2017–08
  2. By: Orla Doyle
    Abstract: Using a randomized experiment, this study investigates the impact of sustained investment in parenting, from pregnancy until age five, in the context of extensive welfare provision. Providing the Preparing for Life program, incorporating home visiting, group parenting, and baby massage, to disadvantaged Irish families raises children’s cognitive and socio-emotional/behavioral scores by two-thirds and one-quarter of a standard deviation respectively by school entry. There are few differential effects by gender and stronger gains for firstborns. The results also suggest that socioeconomic gaps in children’s skills are narrowed. Analyses account for small sample size, differential attrition, multiple testing, contamination, and performance bias.
    Keywords: Early childhood intervention; Cognitive skills; Socio-emotional and behavioral skills; Randomized control trial; Multiple hypothesis testing; Permutation testing; Inverse probability weighting
    JEL: C93 D13 J13
    Date: 2017–07
  3. By: Martins, Pedro S.
    Abstract: Do investments in soft skills pay off in terms of student achievement? This paper evaluates a large private-sector program in this area, EPIS, based on individual and small-group sessions of mediators that seek to improve the non-cognitive skills (e.g. motivation, self-esteem, conscientiousness) of selected students. Our quasi-experimental evidence is drawn from rich longitudinal student data and the different timings of the roll-out of the program, within and across schools. The results highlight the potential of targeted, small-group, non-cognitive interventions, as we find that the EPIS program reduced grade retention by at least 10 percentage points and did so in a cost-effective manner.
    Keywords: Student achievement,Non-cognitive skills,Matched School-Student Data
    JEL: I20 J08
    Date: 2017

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