Wednesday, June 10, 2009

parents, child self confidence, and child performance

In a recent paper, Rajeev Darolia (George Washington) and Bruce Wydick (U San Francisco) test how parents can affect the academic effort and performance of a child through "signals," such as praise or financial rewards. From the abstract:
Our results show that some complementary actions before college, such as parental praise, foster academic achievement above what natural ability would predict. Conversely, we find that some substitutionary actions before college, e.g. providing cars as gifts, are associated with lower effort in college and underachievement.
I was particularly amused by the car-buying result. The article is forthcoming in Economica. Link to it here, or here.

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