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Seminar Series: Amar Hamoudi, Department of Economics, Duke University

Novel Cognitive Skill Measures in a Population-based Survey
When Nov 12, 2014
from 03:00 PM to 04:00 PM
Where 1101 Morrill Hall
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
Attendees Mohammed Ahmad
Christine Bachrach
Michael Boudreaux
Andrew Brodevold
Rebecca Clark
Juan Echenique
Elizabeth F. Karberg
William Fennie
Jonathan Jackson
Joanna Kling
Rianna Murray
Tyler Myroniuk
Giordano Palloni
Michael Rendall
Stephanie Rennane
Cristian S. Montesinos
Rachel Shattuck
Elizabeth Sully
Magda Tsaneva
Sergio Urzua
Reeve Vanneman
Riley Wilson
Heath Witzen
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About the Talk

In recent years, technological change has presented a valuable opportunity for innovation in the measurement of cognitive skills in large population-based samples. We developed a suite of cognitive skills assessments administered on touchscreen tablet PCs which are based on paradigms that are well established in cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology. We deployed these assessments on a population-based sample of 1,857 Peruvian children aged 11-12 years, and 774 of their younger siblings aged 6-11, as part of the fourth wave of an ongoing panel survey called the Young Lives study (YL). Our assessments were specifically designed to be domain general (that is, to require no prior exposure to knowledge from any specific subject area). One set of cognitive skills that has received increasing attention in the empirical social sciences is executive function (EF); these skills underlie an individual's capacity to direct resources in pursuit of a goal. Because goal-orientation likely plays a critical role in generating any number of outcomes that are valued, and because these skills have been shown in randomized interventions to be amenable to investment behavior, they may be of particular interest to population scientists and others interested in human capital. However, other non-EF skills may also constitute important forms of human capital. The skills we assessed include two which are constitutive of EF - namely, working memory and inhibitory control - and two which are not - namely, implicit motor learning and long term memory. Guided by a human capital framework, I will present and discuss observed demographic variation in these assessed skills, as well as the results of investigation into some of the measurement properties of our assessments.

About the Speaker

Amir Hamoudi

Professor Hamoudi’s research interests lie in areas of intersection between empirical microeconomics, biology, and family demography. One broad theme in his research is the long reach of health and human capital consequences of events in early life; another is the function of the extended family as an economic institution. More recently, he has been developing interests around the development of, and economic returns to, nontraditional forms of human capital such as executive functioning and self-regulation.

Visit Professor Hamoudi's webpage

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