nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2022‒11‒07
two papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Socioemotional Skills Development in Highly Violent Contexts : Measurements and Impacts By Dinarte Diaz,Lelys Ileana; Egana-delSol,Pablo; Martinez A.,Claudia
  2. Do Behavioral Interventions Enhance the Effects of Cash on Early Childhood Development and Its Determinants ? Evidence from a Cluster-Randomized Trial in Madagascar By Datta,Saugato; Martin,Joshua Bader; MacLeod,Catherine; Rawlings,Laura B.; Vermehren,Andrea

  1. By: Dinarte Diaz,Lelys Ileana; Egana-delSol,Pablo; Martinez A.,Claudia
    Abstract: Non-cognitive skills can determine socioeconomic success and the transmission of economicstatus across generations. Yet, evidence of cost-effective interventions that aim to develop these skills for at-riskyouth living in highly violent contexts is still scarce. This paper experimentally studies the social-emotionallearning and protection components of an After School Program (ASP) for teenagers in the most violentneighborhoods of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. By combining administrative records and data gathered on-sitevia computer from task-based games and AI-powered emotion detection algorithms, this paper measures the ASP'simpacts on behavior, academic performance, and non-cognitive skills. To measure the learning component, 21 public schoolswere randomly assigned to extracurricular activities (Clubs), a psychology-based curriculum that aims tostrengthen participants' character (Mindful), or a mindfulness and relaxation technique program (Mindful). Toestimate the protection component, 8 schools were selected as pure controls with a propensity score approach. Resultsshow that the net learning component improved behavior at school by 0.46 standard deviations and reduced a proxy forstress by 0.45 standard deviations relative to the Clubs only ASP. These results were driven by the Virtuecurriculum. Although the protection component negatively impacts social-emotional skills, it is, on average, moreeffective for students with worse behavior at baseline, indicating that the ASP curriculum and the characteristicsof the population served are key in designing policies aimed at improving students' behavior.
    Keywords: Effective Schools and Teachers,Educational Institutions & Facilities,Education for Development (superceded),Education For All,Educational Populations,Crime and Society
    Date: 2022–03–07
  2. By: Datta,Saugato; Martin,Joshua Bader; MacLeod,Catherine; Rawlings,Laura B.; Vermehren,Andrea
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the effects of interventions based on behavioral science on measures of early childhood socio-cognitive development (and related household-level outcomes) for children from households receiving cash transfers in Madagascar, using a multi-arm cluster-randomized trial. Three behavioral interventions (a Mother Leaders group and associated activities, by itself or augmented with a self-affirmation or a plan-making nudge) are layered onto a child-focused cash transfer program targeting children from birth to age six years. Approximately 18 months into the implementation of these interventions and 20 months since baseline, the study finds evidence that households in the behaviorally enhanced arms undertake more desirable parenting behaviors, interact more with their children, prepare more (and more diverse) meals at home, and report lower food insecurity than households that received only cash. Children from households in several of the behaviorally enhanced arms also perform better than children from households in the cash-only arm on several measures of socio-cognitive development, including language learning and social skills.
    Keywords: Disability,Services&Transfers to Poor,Access of Poor to Social Services,Economic Assistance,Social Protections&Assistance,Reproductive Health,Children and Youth,Early Child and Children's Health,Nutrition,Early Childhood Development,Inequality
    Date: 2021–08–09

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