Using Behavioral Insights to Increase Parental Engagement: The Parents and Children Together (Pact) Intervention

32 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2015 Last revised: 27 Oct 2015

See all articles by Susan E. Mayer

Susan E. Mayer

Irving Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies

Ariel Kalil

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Philip Oreopoulos

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

Sebastian Gallegos

Princeton University, Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2015

Abstract

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 reminders, goal-setting, and social rewards) as well as information about the importance of reading to children. The treatment increased usage of the reading application by one standard deviation after the six-week intervention. Our evidence suggests that the large effect size is not accounted for by the information component of the intervention and that the treatment impact was much greater for parents who are more present-oriented than for parents who are less present-oriented.

Suggested Citation

Mayer, Susan E. and Kalil, Ariel and Oreopoulos, Philip and Gallegos, Sebastian, Using Behavioral Insights to Increase Parental Engagement: The Parents and Children Together (Pact) Intervention (October 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21602. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2669793

Susan E. Mayer (Contact Author)

Irving Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies ( email )

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

Ariel Kalil

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( 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)

180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Sebastian Gallegos

Princeton University, Department of Economics ( email )

Louis A. Simpson International Bldg
Industrial Relations Section
Princeton, NJ 08540
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.princeton.edu/sebagallegos

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