Date / Time

11:15 am 15/11/2017 -

11:30 am 07/09/2017


Seminar 201, Level 2 - Cycad Building #1018, Long Pocket


The University of Queensland, Saint Lucia QLD, Australia

The University of Queensland, Saint Lucia QLD, Australia


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Developmental theories often suggest that changes in children’s early psychological characteristics will affect much later psychological, social, and economic outcomes. However, tests of these theories frequently yield results that suggest a much smaller causal role for earlier levels of these psychological characteristics. In this seminar, Professor Duncan discusses his paper, where explores this issue using empirical tests of skill-building theories. He shows that experimental manipulation of early maths skills generates much smaller effects on later maths achievement than the non-experimental literature has suggested, and that falsification tests show puzzlingly high cross-domain associations between early maths and later literacy achievement. A skill-building model suggesting a combination of unmeasured stable factors and skill-building processes is able to reproduce the pattern of experimental impacts on children’s mathematics achievement. To read the full paper, click here

Professor Greg Duncan, University of California, Irvine, spent the first 25 years of his career at the University of Michigan working on and ultimately directing the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) data collection project. With these and other data Greg has studied the economic mobility of the US population, both within and across generations, with a particular focus on low-income families. More specifically, he has investigated the roles families, peers, neighbourhoods and public policy play in affecting the life chances of children and adolescents. Greg’s research has highlighted the importance of early childhood as a sensitive period for the damaging influences of economic deprivation as well as for the beneficial impacts of policy-induced income increases for working families. His more recent research has shifted from these environmental influences to the comparative importance of the skills and behaviours developed during childhood; in particular, Greg has sought to understand the relative importance of early academic skills, cognitive and emotional self-regulation, and health in promoting children’s eventual success. by social science problems. Her areas of expertise include longitudinal data analysis, multilevel modelling, survival analysis, and simultaneous equations modelling. She has worked on a range of applications in demography, education, family psychology and health. Fiona was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2009.