UCL Department of Economics


PhD Seminar - Yue Li (UCL)

16 February 2024, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

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Yue Li (UCL) will speak at this PhD Seminar

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Department of Economics

Title: Personality Development and Peer Effect: Experimental Evidence on Chinese Rural Boarding School Students    

Abstract: Personality and noncognitive skills play a pivotal role in human capital, yet there is a limited amount of compelling evidence regarding how personality develops. This paper presents the treatment effects and spillover effects of a randomized experiment conducted in boarding schools in rural China. The program provides audio bedtime stories through speakers in school dormitories. It increased the average resilience scores, adult relationships, and emotional regulation of boarding children by 0.103, 0.085, and 0.097 standard deviations at a cost of less than two pounds per month for each student. This paper also finds personality spillovers on resilience, adult relationships, and self-esteem in their peer-day students who are not directly treated. The results not only provide causal evidence that personality and noncognitive skills can be transferred among school-age children but also suggest spillover effects are not negligible when evaluating the overall benefits of such interventions on personality development. The heterogeneity of results suggests that, with regard to the mental health of students, peer interaction holds greater significance, whereas, in the context of transfer of personality development, adult interaction assumes a greater importance.

Location: 321, Drayton House