Upcoming Department Events

  • ECON Lecture- open to all

    "The Productivity of Education in Early Adolescence:  A Neuroscience-Based Hypothesis & an Intervention"


    The Spring 2019 Austin Chair Lecture Presented By


    The Scott and Donya Bommer Professor in Economics, Stanford University


    Wednesday, April 10, 2019 @3:30pm – 4:30 pm

    Reception to Follow

    Dodd Center Konover Auditorium, University of Connecticut, Storrs


    Sponsored by: The Philip E. Austin Chair, Center for Education Policy Analysis and the Department of Economics


    Neuroscience suggests that successful educational interventions can be especially potent if they occur during early adolescence because, in that period, there is crucial development of the parts of the brain responsible for advanced cognitive skills.  However, most evidence on this point is correlational, rather than causal.  In this lecture, I explain the neuroscience for a non-science audience.  I then offer credibly causal evidence that the returns to successful educational interventions are higher in early adolescence than at other ages.  For instance, I show that being exposed to an especially effective teacher is more important if that exposure occurs in early adolescence.  Also, the effect of being exposed to negative educational shocks, such as relocation to a dysfunctional school, is worse if the student is an adolescent.  Ironically, substantially less money is spent on adolescents' education than on the education of younger or older students.  Combining these findings, I argue that adolescent education earns especially high returns.  Moreover, I argue that the current neglect of adolescent education is fateful for societies like that of the U.S. because we ignore the profound consequences of allowing a substantial share of the population to fail to develop advanced cognitive skills.


    For more information, contact: Economics at 860-486-3022

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If you have any questions, please contact Economics Advising Office at 860-486-3022.