What is it about?

This study looks at the association of adolescent’s time use on the acquisition of cognitive (e.g., verbal intelligence) and non-cognitive (psychological and social, e.g., self-esteem and resilience) skills, thus contributing to the literature on parental investment and skills development. Specifically, using data relating to adolescent’s time spent on school, study, sleep, and play, we investigate how these relate to cognitive and non-cognitive skills of older Indian children. Our results suggest that time use in all four types of activity has a positive association in the development of cognitive skills but competing associations when it comes to non-cognitive skills. We conclude that parental inputs into skills development, such as guidance about adolescent’s time-use, are likely to have a differential association depending on the kind of skills being developed.

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Why is it important?

Our research is important for two reasons. Firstly, India over the past years has seen rapid economic growth, yet still has rising income inequalities. By addressing the important issue of skills formation, this paper can provide important future policy insights to better develop human capital for adolescents who will soon be joining the Indian workforce. Secondly, previous research has proxied parental investment through variables that are specific to the context that the researchers are studying, and therefore are not easily applicable in different settings, especially in developing countries that face major data limitations. We address this gap by using a novel way to proxy parental investment through time use variables, which we contend can be applied to children of different age groups, living in more varied settings, and belonging to different socio-economic backgrounds. The idea here is that time spent by children in various activities is largely determined by parents even at an adolescent age.


My co-authors and I enjoyed writing this publication.

Bareerah Hoorani
Radboud Universiteit

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Adolescent’s time use and skills development: Do cognitive and non-cognitive skills differ?, PLoS ONE, July 2022, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0271374.
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