The Causal Impact of Socio-Emotional Skills Training on Educational Success

Giuseppe Sorrenti, University of Amsterdam, Ulf Zölitz, University of Zurich, Denis Ribeaud, University of Zurich, and Manuel Eisner, University of Cambridge

We study the long-term effects of a randomized intervention targeting children’s socio-emotional skills. The classroom-based intervention for primary school children has positive impacts that persist for over a decade. Treated children become more likely to complete academic high school and enroll in university. Two mechanisms drive these results. Treated children show fewer ADHD symptoms: they are less impulsive and less disruptive. They also attain higher grades, but they do not score higher on standardized tests. The long-term effects on educational attainment thus appear to be driven by changes in socio-emotional skills rather than cognitive skills