Behavioral Economics of Education: Progress and Possibilities

91 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2014

See all articles by Adam Lavecchia

Adam Lavecchia

McMaster University

Heidi Liu

Harvard University

Philip Oreopoulos

University of Toronto - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2014

Abstract

Behavioral economics attempts to integrate insights from psychology, neuroscience, and sociology in order to better predict individual outcomes and develop more effective policy. While the field has been successfully applied to many areas, education has, so far, received less attention - a surprising oversight, given the field's key interest in long-run decision-making and the propensity of youth to make poor long-run decisions. In this chapter, we review the emerging literature on the behavioral economics of education. We first develop a general framework for thinking about why youth and their parents might not always take full advantage of education opportunities. We then discuss how these behavioral barriers may be preventing some students from improving their long-run welfare. We evaluate the recent but rapidly growing efforts to develop policies that mitigate these barriers, many of which have been examined in experimental settings. Finally, we discuss future prospects for research in this emerging field.

Suggested Citation

Lavecchia, Adam and Liu, Heidi and Oreopoulos, Philip, Behavioral Economics of Education: Progress and Possibilities (October 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20609. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2513169

Adam Lavecchia (Contact Author)

McMaster University ( email )

1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M4
Canada
905-525-9140 (Phone)

Heidi Liu

Harvard University ( email )

Philip Oreopoulos

University of Toronto - Department of Economics ( email )

150 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G7
Canada

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

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Toronto, Ontario
Canada

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