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Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation

Susanne Schennach, James Heckman and Flavio Cunha

No 973, 2007 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics

Abstract: This paper formulates and estimates a model of the evolution of child cognitive and noncognitive skills as determined by parental investments at different stages of the life cycle. We estimate the elasticity of substitution between contemporaneous investments and inherited stocks of skills to assess the benefits of early investment in children compared to later investment. We develop a nonlinear factor analysis and use it to establish nonparametric identification of the technology of skill formation. A by-product of our approach is a framework for the evaluation of childhood interventions that avoids reliance on arbitrarily scaled test scores. Since any monotonic transformation of a test score is also a valid test score, "value added" analyses of test scores have no clear interpretation. We develop a general nonparametric solution to this problem by anchoring test scores and other outcome measures in adult outcomes with interpretable scales.

Date: 2007
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Related works:
Journal Article: Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Estimating the technology of cognitive and noncognitive skill formation (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation (2010) Downloads
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