Adolescent Environment and Noncognitive Skills

59 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2014 Last revised: 27 Jan 2016

See all articles by Jie Gong

Jie Gong

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Business Policy

Yi Lu

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics

Huihua Xie

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Date Written: September 2015

Abstract

Human skills are formed throughout multiple stages over the life cycle. Different types of skills are manipulable at different ages. This paper investigates whether and how the adolescent environment affects individuals' noncognitive skills. We exploit the "Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement" during China's Cultural Revolution, in which millions of urban educated youths were forced to work and live in rural areas. We identify the effect of the "send-down" experience on the youths' locus of control by regression discontinuity. Results show that rusticated youths have less external locus of control, i.e., are less likely to believe that external circumstances, such as luck or powerful others, control their lives. We interpret our findings as a long-run effect of the adolescent experience of adapting to adversity and expending effort that leads to reward. We also find evidence consistent with the dynamic complementary hypothesis which holds that investments at different ages bolster each other.

Keywords: early intervention, values, rusticated youth, hardship during youth, China

JEL Classification: J13, O15, Z13

Suggested Citation

Gong, Jie and Lu, Yi and Xie, Huihua, Adolescent Environment and Noncognitive Skills (September 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2397046 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2397046

Jie Gong (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Business Policy ( email )

15 Kent Ridge Drive, Mochtar Riady Build
Singapore 117591, 119245
Singapore

Yi Lu

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics ( email )

1 Arts Link, AS2 #06-02
Singapore 117570, Singapore 119077
Singapore
65-65166834 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://ylu6.weebly.com

Huihua Xie

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

1E Kent Ridge Road
NUHS Tower Block Level 7
Singapore, 119228
Singapore

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