The economics and psychology of inequality and human development

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Title: The economics and psychology of inequality and human development
Authors: Cunha, Flavio
Heckman, James J.
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Date: 9-Mar-2009
Abstract: Recent research on the economics of human development deepens understanding of the origins of inequality and excellence. It draws on and contributes to personality psychology and the psychology of human development. Inequalities in family environments and investments in children are substantial. They causally affect the development of capabilities. Both cognitive and noncognitive capabilities determine success in life but to varying degrees for different outcomes. An empirically determined technology of capability formation reveals that capabilities are self-productive and cross-fertilizing and can be enhanced by investment. Investments in capabilities are relatively more productive at some stages of a child's life cycle than others. Optimal child investment strategies differ depending on target outcomes of interest and on the nature of adversity in a child's early years. For some configurations of early disadvantage and for some desired outcomes, it is efficient to invest relatively more in the later years of childhood than in the early years.
Funding Details: JB & MK Pritzker Family Foundation;
The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation
National Institutes of Health
The American Bar Foundation
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Geary Institute
Keywords: InequalityCapabilitiesNoncognitive traitsHuman developmentTechnology of capability formationPolicy targeting
Subject LCSH: Psychology--Economic aspects
Child development
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Conference Details: Paper presented as the Marshall Lecture at the European Economics Association, Milan, August 29, 2008
Appears in Collections:Geary Institute Working Papers

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