Negotiating a Better Future: How Interpersonal Skills Facilitate Inter-Generational Investment

77 Pages Posted: 21 May 2018

See all articles by Nava Ashraf

Nava Ashraf

Harvard Business School

Natalie Bau

University of Toronto

Corinne Low

University of Pennsylvania

Kathleen McGinn

Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit

Date Written: May 2018

Abstract

Using a randomized control trial, we examine whether offering adolescent girls non-material resources - specifically, negotiation skills -can improve educational outcomes in a low-income country. In so doing, we provide the first evidence on the effects of an intervention that increased non-cognitive, interpersonal skills during adolescence. Long-run administrative data shows that negotiation training significantly improved educational outcomes over the next three years. The training had greater effects than two alternative treatments (offering girls a safe physical space with female mentors and offering girls information about the returns to education), suggesting that negotiation skills themselves drive the effect. Further evidence from a lab-in-the-field experiment, which simulates parents' educational investment decisions, and a midline survey suggests that negotiation skills improved girls' outcomes by moving households' human capital investments closer to the efficient frontier. This is consistent with an incomplete contracting model, where negotiation allows daughters to strategically cooperate with parents.

Keywords: Gender, Human Capital, Intrahousehold Allocation, non-cognitive skills, strategic cooperation

JEL Classification: D13, I24, J16, O15

Suggested Citation

Ashraf, Nava and Bau, Natalie and Low, Corinne and McGinn, Kathleen L., Negotiating a Better Future: How Interpersonal Skills Facilitate Inter-Generational Investment (May 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12939. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3182400

Nava Ashraf (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-5058 (Phone)
617-496-4191 (Fax)

Natalie Bau

University of Toronto

Corinne Low

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Kathleen L. McGinn

Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6901 (Phone)
617-496-7379 (Fax)

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