Publication: Ecological shocks and non-cognitive skills: Evidence from Kenya


Non-cognitive skills such as locus of control (LOC) and self-efficacy have been theoretically shown to influence behavioural and economic decision-making. While this effect has been confirmed empirically, the factors that can induce change in non-cognitive skills are not yet fully understood. Examining exogenous variation in the spread of invasive species, this study investigates the association between an ecological shock and non-cognitive skills through a survey of smallholder households in Baringo county Kenya. The results show an adverse relationship between ecological shocks and LOC. Individuals are less likely to believe that they have control over outcomes in their lives when faced with shocks. The study also demonstrates a negative association of shocks with self-efficacy which is related to the perceived judgement of capability. In addition to robustness to alternative specifications and the inclusion of additional relevant controls, we establish that the results are unlikely to be driven by unobserved heterogeneity. We find further suggestive evidence indicating that ecological shocks lead to economic adversity, which may well explain reductions in individuals\’ perceptions of capability and the extent of convictions regarding control over their lives. Overall, ecological shocks diminish perceived LOC and self-efficacy, with associated policy implications for poverty reduction.

Tabe-Ojong, MP 2022, \’Ecological shocks and non-cognitive skills: Evidence from Kenya\’, Ecological Economics, vol. 194, no. 107330 DOI.

More CRC News

Cover Image for a website post of a blog entry

Envisioning African Futures: Blog Post by Detlef Müller-Mahn and Eric Kioko

Against the backdrop of recent visits by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and several German ministers to Africa, CRC-TRR Future Rural Africa researchers Detlef ...
Read More »
Dr. Richard Kiaka and his research assistants

Future Rural Africa Researchers Awarded Cologne International Forum Innovative Tandem Project Grant

The University of Cologne’s International Forum is awarding five project grants (€ 15,000 each) annually for project-related innovative tandem collaborations between University of Cologne-based academics ...
Read More »
Cover Image for a Lecture given by David Anderson at the University of Nairobi

Video Lecture: Kiotalel’s Kin – Identity, Autochthony and the Occult in Kenya’s Western Highlands

By Prof. David Anderson (CRC Project A02 Past Futures) In this presentation given at the University in Nairobi in late 2023, David Anderson focuses on ...
Read More »
Cover for a talk between David Anderson and Laleh Khalili

Video: Collective Punishment as Colonial Policing – A Conversation between David Anderson and Laleh Khalili

In this conversation, Prof. Laleh Khalili (Exeter; author of Time in the Shadows) and Prof. David Anderson (Future Rural Africa Project A02 Past Futures) discuss ...
Read More »
Kilombero Valley in Tanzania

Francis Ching’ota and Jonathan Jackson on Broadening Participation in Research Through Building Sustainable Relationships and Disseminating Knowledge

In their latest publication titled “Maono ya Bonde la Kilombero, Tanzania: Historia za Maendeleo Yake”, Francis Ching’ota, an Assistant Lecturer from the National Institute of ...
Read More »
Scroll to Top