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Documento de trabajo

The Importance of a Helping Hand in Education and in Life

  • person Francisco Gallego

    Philip Oreopoulos, Noah Spencer

  • class Documento de Trabajo IE-PUC 575, 2023

This paper discusses the importance of incorporating personal assistance into interventions aimed
at improving long-term education and labor market success. While existing research demonstrates
the cost-effectiveness of low-touch behavioral nudges, this paper argues that the dynamic nature
of human capital accumulation requires sustained habits over time. To foster better habits, social
connections are critical for encouraging enduring effort and intrinsic motivation. The paper
showcases examples from various stages of human capital accumulation, including early
childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, in which interventions that incorporate personal
assistance substantially out-perform less intensive nudges. We underscore the importance of
interactive support, guidance, and motivation in facilitating significant progress and explore the
challenges associated with implementing cost-effective policies to provide such assistance.