The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility

April 25, 2014
  • Contributors:

    James J. Heckman, Stefano Mosso
  • Topic:

    Other Research

Annual Reviews

This paper focuses on the economics of human development and social mobility, starting with a summary of existing evidence on the importance of several periods in growing up that are vital to shaping critical life skills.

The authors present economic models that rationalize and unify existing studies about the effect of modern treatment and family influence. They also analyze the evidence on the effectiveness of various types of interventions that target disadvantaged children and on their optimal timing during the stages of development.

They conclude that there is little support for the claim that untargeted income transfer policies to poor families significantly boost child outcomes. Mentoring, parenting, and attachment are essential features of successful families as well as of interventions that shape skills at all stages of childhood.



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