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Negotiating a better future: how interpersonal skills facilitate intergenerational investment

Ashraf, Nava, Bau, Natalie, Low, Corinne and McGinn, Kathleen (2020) Negotiating a better future: how interpersonal skills facilitate intergenerational investment. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 135 (2). 1095 - 1151. ISSN 0033-5533

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Identification Number: 10.1093/qje/qjz039


Using a randomized controlled trial, we study whether a negotiation skills training can improve girls' educational outcomes in a low-resource environment. We find that a negotiation training given to eighth-grade Zambian girls significantly improved educational outcomes over the next three years, and these effects did not fade out. To better understand mechanisms, we estimate the effects of two alternative treatments. Negotiation had much stronger effects than an informational treatment, which had no effect. A treatment designed to have more traditional girls' empowerment effects had directionally positive but insignificant educational effects. Relative to this treatment, negotiation increased enrollment in higher-quality schooling and had larger effects for high-ability girls. These findings are consistent with a model in which negotiation allows girls to resolve incomplete contracting problems with their parents, yielding increased educational investment for those who experience sufficiently high returns. We provide evidence for this channel through a lab-in-the-field game and follow-up survey with girls and their guardians.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics > D13 - Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J16 - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O15 - Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2020 10:18
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:02

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