Most evaluations of the impact of entrepreneurship education or training programs find that these programs positively impact educational and labor market outcomes but do not impact, or even negatively impact, self-reported measures of socio-emotional skills. These results beg the question of which mechanisms, cognitive or otherwise, lead to increases in education and labor market outcomes. We argue that programs designed to foster socio-emotional skills affect the subjects’ ability to regulate their emotions, or disposition to act, in ways that enable them to make more measured, rational decisions that lead to more productive outcomes. In order to test our hypothesis, we combined a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with neuro-physiological and survey data from lab-in-the-field measurements to study an entrepreneurship training program in Chile; this enabled us to study the impact of the program on the participants’ cognitive, creative, and socio-emotional skills. A key methodological contribution of this study was the use of electroencephalograms (EEGs) in the context of an RCT. These measurements led us to two key findings. First, the program had a positive and significant impact on educational outcomes —i.e., dropout rates— and, akin to the findings of other studies in the literature, no impact on self-reported measures of socio-emotional skills (e.g., grit and locus of control) and creativity. Our second, and more novel insight came from our finding that the program had a significant impact on its participants’ emotional regulation skills. In particular, we found that the program studied rendered its participants more “resilient’’, as measured by a decrease in arousal (a proxy of stress), valence (a proxy for withdrawal from or approachability to an event or stimuli), and emotional reactions to negative stimuli.
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