NBER Working Papers by Susan Mayer

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Working Papers

October 2015Using Behavioral Insights to Increase Parental Engagement: The Parents and Children Together (PACT) Intervention
with Ariel Kalil, Philip Oreopoulos, Sebastian Gallegos: w21602
Parent engagement with their children plays an important role in children’s eventual economic success and numerous studies have documented large gaps in parent engagement between low- and higher-income families. While we know remarkably little about what motivates parents to engage in their children’s development, recent research suggests that ignoring or discounting the future may inhibit parental investment, while certain behavioral tools may help offset this tendency. This paper reports results from a randomized field experiment designed to increase the time that parents of children in subsidized preschool programs spend reading to their children using an electronic reading application that audio and video records parents as they read. The treatment included three behavioral tools (text...
January 2014The (Surprising) Efficacy of Academic and Behavioral Intervention with Disadvantaged Youth: Results from a Randomized Experiment in Chicago
with Philip J. Cook, Kenneth Dodge, George Farkas, Roland G. Fryer, Jr, Jonathan Guryan, Jens Ludwig, Harold Pollack, Laurence Steinberg: w19862
There is growing concern that improving the academic skills of disadvantaged youth is too difficult and costly, so policymakers should instead focus either on vocationally oriented instruction for teens or else on early childhood education. Yet this conclusion may be premature given that so few previous interventions have targeted a potential fundamental barrier to school success: "mismatch" between what schools deliver and the needs of disadvantaged youth who have fallen behind in their academic or non-academic development. This paper reports on a randomized controlled trial of a two-pronged intervention that provides disadvantaged youth with non-academic supports that try to teach youth social-cognitive skills based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and intensive i...

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