Skip to Main Navigation

Minds and behaviors at work : boosting socioemotional skills for Latin America’s workforce (English)

Although the Latin American region has shown an impressive growth in educational attainment over the past two decades, that education has failed to yield expected benefits. A mounting body of research and policy debates argues that the quantity of education is not an adequate metric of human capital acquisition. Rather, individual skills what they actually know and can do should stand as policy targets and be fostered across the life course. Evidence from around the world shows that both cognitive and socio-emotional skills are demanded by employers and favorably affect a range of outcomes, including educational attainment and employment outcomes. Through original empirical research investigating the role of cognitive and socio-emotional skills in shaping adults labor market outcomes in Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, and Peru, supplemented by similar studies in other Latin American countries, this review confirms that cognitive skills matter for reaping labor market gains in terms of higher wages and formal jobs in Latin America; but so do socio-emotional skills. Moreover, socio-emotional skills seem to particularly influence labor force participation and tertiary education attendance as a platform to build knowledge. The study also presents a policy framework for skills development by: (i) providing insights by developmental psychologists about when people are neuro-biologically, socio-emotionally, and situationally ready to develop socio-emotional skills, and (ii) suggesting new directions in cognitive development.


  • Author

    Cunningham,Wendy, Acosta,Pablo Ariel, Muller,Noel

  • Document Date


  • Document Type


  • Report Number


  • Volume No


  • Total Volume(s)


  • Country

    Latin America,

  • Region

    Latin America & Caribbean,

  • Disclosure Date


  • Disclosure Status


  • Doc Name

    Minds and behaviors at work : boosting socioemotional skills for Latin America’s workforce

  • Keywords

    cognitive skill;higher level of education;changing nature of work;skills in labor market;labor market outcome;years of schooling;number of jobs;economics of education;structure of employment;labor force participation;national skill;demand for skill;social cohesion policy;expansion of enrollment;privileges and immunity;economic growth prospects;gnp per capita;educational testing service;labor and education;pattern of thought;labor market success;wage worker;highly skilled worker;higher education institution;tertiary education institution;manual skill;analytical skill;work ethic;high wage;education attainment;interpersonal skill;cognitive ability;school readiness;longitudinal data;employment program;household survey;labor outcomes;life skill;mental ability;skill formation;youth development;empirical research;school climate;elementary school;informal employment;social behavior;research focus;educational outcome;task requirement;causal link;literacy score;human capital;skill set;export orientation;tertiary level;life span;thinking skill;hourly wage;skill category;occupational structure;future education;productive activity;survey data;job skill;young age;democratic education;child psychology;social progress;disadvantaged youth;female earnings;behavioral intervention;learning skill;literacy assessment;professional development;Economic Policy;student outcome;positive behavior;student learning;high school;employer demand;labor earning;demographic characteristic;Social Protection;labor economics;International Trade;research fellow;developmental psychology;cognitive development;research assistance;Regional Studies;regression table;school attendance;emotional reactions;life situation;skill need;measurement error;early adulthood;classroom environment;teaching method;job training;learning process;cultural context;problem-solving skill;country survey;academic knowledge;public intervention;policy target;vulnerable population;program leader;copyright owner;private venture;emotional skill;math skill;international benchmarks;teacher qualification;sole responsibility;transforming economies;social responsibility;social situation;strengthen school;standard deviation;individual effect;labor supply;advanced skill;school graduate;french national;skill development;Employment Policies;employment policy;vulnerable worker;young adult;written text;original work;school decision;international assessment;colombian peso;commercial purpose;intelligence quotient;labor productivity;evaluation design;



Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

  • Official PDF
  • TXT*
  • Total Downloads** :
  • Download Stats
  • *The text version is uncorrected OCR text and is included solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.


Cunningham,Wendy Acosta,Pablo Ariel Muller,Noel

Minds and behaviors at work : boosting socioemotional skills for Latin America’s workforce (English). Directions in development Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.