nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2019‒12‒02
two papers chosen by

  1. Some Contributions of Economics to the Study of Personality By Heckman, James J.; Jagelka, Tomás; Kautz, Tim
  2. Parental Inputs and Socio-economic Gaps in Early Child Development By Lindsey Macmillan; Emma Tominey

  1. By: Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago); Jagelka, Tomás (University of Bonn); Kautz, Tim (Mathematica Policy Research)
    Abstract: This paper synthesizes recent research in economics and psychology on the measurement and empirical importance of personality skills and preferences. They predict and cause important life outcomes such as wages, health, and longevity. Skills develop over the life cycle and can be enhanced by education, parenting, and environmental influences to different degrees at different ages. Economic analysis clarifies psychological studies by establishing that personality is measured by performance on tasks which depends on incentives and multiple skills. Identification of any single skill therefore requires isolation of confounding factors, accounting for measurement error using rich data and application of appropriate statistical techniques. Skills can be inferred not only by questionnaires and experiments but also from observed behavior. Economists advance the analysis of human differences by providing anchored measures of economic preferences and studying their links to personality and cognitive skills. Connecting the research from the two disciplines promotes understanding of the number and nature of skills and preferences required to characterize essential differences.
    Keywords: preferences, psychology, behavioral economics, human diversity
    JEL: D91 D12 C93 C91 D9
    Date: 2019–11
  2. By: Lindsey Macmillan; Emma Tominey
    Abstract: By the time children start school, socio-economic gaps are evident in child skills. We document a causal effect of a reform to mothers' education on her child's skills and use mediation analysis to explore the role of parental inputs as mechanisms. The reform shifted mothers' education from no, to a low level of qualifications. Our results suggest that financial resources are an important channel, explaining up to 59% of the effect on child cognitive skills. On top of this, parental investments of health behaviours during pregnancy and monetary investments at home explain a further 14% of the test score gaps.
    Keywords: Child Development, test scores, socio-emotional skills, parental inputs, decomposition, ALSPAC
    JEL: D10 I24 J13
    Date: 2019–11

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