The Building blocks of skill development
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The recent literature on human capital formation has emphasized the dynamic process of skills formation throughout the lifecycle. In particular, the importance of developing these skills early in life has been widely observed. According to Cunha and Heckman (2010), deficiencies in building these skills early in life make it difficult to catch up in later years. In this article, we evaluate the impact of a building block program on the development of cognitive and socio-emotional skills. Building block programs have been advertised as an investment that boosts intelligence. Using a randomized control trial in Brazil, we find a positive impact of the building block program on cognitive skills in the short run on younger students (seven to eight years old). We did not find any robust effect of the program on older kids(ten to twelve years old). In addition, we find complementaries between socio-emotional skills and the development of cognitives skills. Children that had higher socio-emotional skills beforehand have higher benefits from the investment (building blocks program). This result suggests that the development of socio-emotional skills can increase the window of opportunity in which the program can affect cognitive skills.