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Research project by Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch receives DFG funding
How do non-cognitive skills form in children and adolescents?

Patience, the ability to work in a team and towards long-term goals are examples of ‘non-cognitive’ skills. These skills are becoming more and more important in the labour market. Despite their huge significance, there is very little research on how non-cognitive skills form in childhood and adolescence. An interdisciplinary project at Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) headed by economist Prof. Dr. Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch has set out to close this knowledge gap. The project will receive funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) totalling EUR 850,000 over the next three years.



Photo of Prof. Dr. Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch, Professor of Economics, in particular Behavioural Economics and Empirical Economics. Zoom

Prof. Dr. Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch, Professor of Economics, in particular Behavioural Economics and Empirical Economics. The project is currently funded by the DFG and involves research into factors influencing the development of non-cognitive skills in children and adolescents. (Photo: Ivo Mayr / HHU)

In order to find out what influences the formation of non-cognitive skills in childhood and adolescence and to investigate the significance of those skills for educational attainment, job performance or health outcomes, comprehensive panel data on non-cognitive skills of whole families in Bangladesh are collected.

“We follow a multi-method approach in measuring non-cognitive skills that combines incentivised experiments, well-established scales and validated survey items. We combine these with controlled randomised experiments. This is the only way to understand which investments have a decisive impact on the formation of these skills in children and adolescents aged between six and 16”, explains Prof. Dr. Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch, who is in charge of the project.

The project will also involve examining parental investments as well as the social environment beyond the family. “We have also included current developments in our project in response to the coronavirus pandemic”, says Professor Schildberg-Hörisch. The crisis serves as an example of the influence of what are referred to as ‘exogenous shocks’. These are unforeseen events that can have a serious effect on individuals and national economies but cannot themselves be altered by those individuals or economies.

The project will run for three years. It involves collaboration between economist Prof. Dr. Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch and researchers at the University of Sydney and the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

The expected innovative insights from the project will not only both promote basic research on the formation of non-cognitive skills, but also provide guidance to parents, teachers and policymakers on how to foster the development of positive non-cognitive skills in children and adolescents.

Further information on the research project:



Further information:
Prof. Dr. Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch
Professor of Economics, in particular Behavioural Economics








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