F. G. M. Cunha

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The Technology of Skill Formation This paper develops a model of skill formation that explains a variety of findings established in the child development and child intervention literatures. At its core is a technology that is stage-specific and that features self productivity, dynamic complementarity and skill multipliers. Lessons are drawn for the design(More)
This paper develops new economic models to synthesize and interpret the empirical literature on human skill formation. It presents simple formal economic models of child development that capture the essence of recent findings from the empirical literature. The goal of this essay is to provide a theoretical framework for interpreting the evidence from a vast(More)
This paper formulates and estimates multistage production functions for child cognitive and noncognitive skills. Output is determined by parental environments and investments at different stages of childhood. We estimate the elasticity of substitution between investments in one period and stocks of skills in that period to assess the benefits of early(More)
This paper estimates models of the evolution of cognitive and noncognitive skills and explores the role of family environments in shaping these skills at different stages of the life cycle of the child. Central to this analysis is identification of the technology of skill formation. We estimate a dynamic factor model to solve the problem of endogeneity of(More)
Separating Uncertainty from Heterogeneity in Life Cycle Earnings This paper develops and applies a method for decomposing cross section variability of earnings into components that are forecastable at the time students decide to go to college (heterogeneity) and components that are unforecastable. About 60% of variability in returns to schooling is(More)
This paper develops a framework for analyzing individuals’ choices in the presence of endogenous social networks and implements it with data on teen smoking decisions and friendship networks. By allowing actions and friendships to be jointly chosen, the framework extends the literature on social interactions, which either models choices, taking the social(More)
Investing in Our Young People This paper reviews the recent literature on the production of skills of young persons. The literature features the multiplicity of skills that explain success in a variety of life outcomes. Noncognitive skills play a fundamental role in successful lives. The dynamics of skill formation reveal the interplay of cognitive and(More)
Recent research on the economics of human development deepens understanding of the origins of inequality and excellence. It draws on and contributes to personality psychology and the psychology of human development. Inequalities in family environments and investments in children are substantial. They causally affect the development of capabilities. Both(More)
This paper considers a nonparametric panel data model with nonadditive unobserved heterogeneity. As in the standard linear panel data model, two types of unobservables are present in the model: individual-specific effects and idiosyncratic disturbances. The individual-specific effects enter the structural function nonseparably and are allowed to be(More)
This paper examines whether noncognitive skills – measured both by personality traits and economic preference parameters – influence cognitive tests performance. The basic idea is that noncognitive skills might affect the effort people put into a test to obtain good results. We experimentally varied the rewards for questions in a cognitive test to measure(More)