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Suburban legend: School cutoff dates and the timing of births

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  • Dickert-Conlin, Stacy
  • Elder, Todd

Abstract

Many states require children to reach age 5 by a specified date in the calendar year in order to begin kindergarten. We use birth certificate records from 1999 to 2004 to assess whether parents systematically time childbirth before these eligibility cutoff dates to capture the option value of sending their child to school at a relatively young age, thereby avoiding a year of child care costs. Testing for discontinuities in the distribution of births around cutoff dates, we find no evidence that the option value influences the timing of birth. Similarly, we find no systematic discontinuities in average mothers' characteristics or babies' health outcomes around cutoff dates. Timing in the neighborhood of eligibility cutoffs occurs only when the cutoffs coincide with weekends or holidays, which may have implications for recent research that assumes birth dates in the neighborhood of cutoffs are essentially randomly assigned.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 826-841

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:5:p:826-841

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

Related research

Keywords: Kindergarten cutoff Regression discontinuity Birth timing;

References

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  1. Gans, Joshua S. & Leigh, Andrew, 2009. "Born on the first of July: An (un)natural experiment in birth timing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 246-263, February.
  2. Patrick J. McEwan & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2008. "The Benefits of Delayed Primary School Enrollment: Discontinuity Estimates Using Exact Birth Dates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  3. Todd E. Elder & Darren H. Lubotsky, 2009. "Kindergarten Entrance Age and Children’s Achievement: Impacts of State Policies, Family Background, and Peers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
  4. David Deming & Susan Dynarski, 2008. "The lengthening of childhood," New England Public Policy Center Working Paper 08-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  5. Leuven, Edwin & Lindahl, Mikael & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Webbink, Dinand, 2006. "Expanding Schooling Opportunities for 4-Year-Olds," IZA Discussion Papers 2434, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. David S. Lee & David Card, 2006. "Regression Discontinuity Inference with Specification Error," NBER Technical Working Papers 0322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2006. "The Persistence of Early Childhood Maturity: International Evidence of Long-Run Age Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1437-1472, November.
  8. Datar, Ashlesha, 2006. "Does delaying kindergarten entrance give children a head start?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 43-62, February.
  9. Kasey Buckles & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2008. "Season of Birth and Later Outcomes: Old Questions, New Answers," NBER Working Papers 14573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dobkin, Carlos & Ferreira, Fernando, 2010. "Do school entry laws affect educational attainment and labor market outcomes?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 40-54, February.
  11. Jonah B. Gelbach, 2002. "Public Schooling for Young Children and Maternal Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 307-322, March.
  12. Elizabeth U. Cascio, 2009. "Maternal Labor Supply and the Introduction of Kindergartens into American Public Schools," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
  13. Ashlesha Datar, 2006. "The impact of kindergarten entrance age policies on the childcare needs of families," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 129-153.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Veronica Grembi & Tommaso Nannicini & Ugo Troiano, 2012. "Policy Responses to Fiscal Restraints: A Difference-in-Discontinuities Design," CESifo Working Paper Series 3999, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Gabriela Aparicio & Paul E. Carrillo & M. Shahe Emran, 2013. "Are Sunday Babies Doomed for Life? Measuring the Sunday-Born Achievement Gap in Ecuador," Working Papers 2013-2, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  3. Shirlee Lichtman, 2013. "The Value Of Postponing Pregnancy: California’S Paid Family Leave And The Timing Of Pregnancies," Working Papers 1310, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
  4. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "The drivers of month of birth differences in children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills: a regression discontinuity analysis," IFS Working Papers W13/08, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Dionissi Aliprantis, 2012. "When should children start school?," Working Paper 1126, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Mühlenweg, Andrea M. & Blomeyer, Dorothea & Laucht, Manfred, 2011. "Effects of age at school entry (ASE) on the development of non-cognitive skills: Evidence from psychometric data," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-017, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "The drivers of month of birth differences in children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills: a regression discontinuity analysis," DoQSS Working Papers 13-06, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  8. Alan I. Barreca & Jason M. Lindo & Glen R. Waddell, 2011. "Heaping-Induced Bias in Regression-Discontinuity Designs," NBER Working Papers 17408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mühlenweg, Andrea & Blomeyer, Dorothea & Stichnoth, Holger & Laucht, Manfred, 2012. "Effects of age at school entry (ASE) on the development of non-cognitive skills: Evidence from psychometric data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 68-76.

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