Behavioral Economics and Developmental Science: A New Framework to Support Early Childhood Interventions

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Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk, ISSN: 2155-5834, Vol: 7, Issue: 2, Page: 2

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Gennetian, Lisa; Darling, Matthew; Aber, J Lawrence
Parent engagement; behavioral economics; early childhood interventions
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article description
Public policies have actively responded to an emergent social and neuroscientific evidence base documenting the benefits of targeting services to children during the earliest period of their development. But problems of low utilization, inconsistent participation, and low retention continue to present themselves as challenges. Although most interventions recognize and address structural and psycho-social barriers to parent’s engagement, few take seriously the decision making roles of parents. Using insights from the behavioral sciences, we revisit assumptions about the presumed behavior of parents in a developmental context. We then describe ways in which this framework informs features of interventions that can be designed to augment the intended impacts of early development, education and care initiatives by improving parent engagement.