Nudging Parents and Children Together
Last fall, all across Chicago, low-income families with preschool-age children brought home iPads cased in kid-proof plastic covers. Each came loaded with an app that allowed parents and children to scroll through hundreds of storybooks, from classics like The Ugly Duckling to modern bestsellers like Llama Llama Red Pajama.
But what looked like high-tech story time is actually high-stakes social research in action. Chicago Harris' Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab was examining a groundbreaking intervention called Parents and Children Together. The goal was to determine whether a series of low-cost, light-touch nudges could get parents to spend more time reading to their kids.
Well, the results are in. So did it work? The findings were published in the National Bureau of Economic Research this month. Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab Director Professor Ariel Kalil explains why this project was so groundbreaking—and discusses whether behavioral techniques might help nudge families toward educational equality.