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Repeated Selection with Heterogenous Individuals and Relative Age Effects

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  • Herbert Dawid
  • Gerd Mühlheusser
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    Abstract

    In contexts such as education and sports, skill-accumulation of individuals over time crucially depends on the amount of training they receive, which is often allocated on the basis of repeated selection. We analyze optimal selection policies in a model of endogenous skill formation where, apart from their ability to transform training into skills, individuals also differ with respect to relative age. The latter has been identified by recent empirical research as a major determinant for performance differentials within cohorts. We find that the optimal policy is pro-competitive at later selection stages in the sense of selecting the individuals with the higher skill signals. All eventual corrections due to relative age occur at early stages, where selection is either counter-competitive (i.e. individuals with low skill signals are selected) or even avoided at all. Thereby, the induced selection quality is non-monotone in the degree of ex-ante asymmetry due to relative age. Finally, the (empirical) observation of persistent relative age effects does in general not hint at suboptimal selection policies.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3786.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3786

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    Related research

    Keywords: skill formation; human capital; selection; heterogeneity; age effects; training; education;

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    1. Billari, Francesco C. & Pellizzari, Michele, 2008. "The Younger, the Better? Relative Age Effects at University," IZA Discussion Papers 3795, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 15664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. E. Feess & Gerd Muehlheusser & M. Walzl, 2008. "Unfair contests," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 93(3), pages 267-291, 04.
    5. Patrick Puhani & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Does the early bird catch the worm?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 359-386, May.
    6. Amann, Erwin & Leininger, Wolfgang, 1996. "Asymmetric All-Pay Auctions with Incomplete Information: The Two-Player Case," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-18, May.
    7. Maresa Sprietsma, 2010. "Effect of relative age in the first grade of primary school on long-term scholastic results: international comparative evidence using PISA 2003," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 1-32.
    8. Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2011. "Why Young Boys Stumble: Early Tracking, Age and Gender Bias in the German School System," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(4), pages 371-394, November.
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