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Is early learning really more productive? The effect of school starting age on school and labor market performance

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  • Fredriksson, Peter

    ()
    (Nationalekonomiska institutionen)

  • Öckert, Björn

    ()
    (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

Abstract

In Sweden, children typically start compulsary school the year they turn seven. Individuals born just before or just after the new year, have about the same date of birth but start school att different ages. We exploit this source of exogenous variation, to identify the effects of age at school entry on school and labor market outcomes. Using data for the entire Swedish population born 1935-84, we find that children who start school at an older age do better in school and go on to have more education than their younger peers. The longrun earnings effects are positive but small. However, since starting school later entails the opportunity cost of entering the labor market later, the net earnings effect over the entire life-cycle is negative. Exploiting within-school variation in peer age composition, we find that the school starting age effect primarily is due to absolute maturity rather than to the relative age in the class.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2006:12.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: 03 Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming as Fredriksson, Peter and Björn Öckert, 'Life-cycle effects of age at school start' in The Economic Journal, 2013.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2006_012

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Postal: IFAU, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: (+46) 18 - 471 70 70
Fax: (+46) 18 - 471 70 71
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Web page: http://www.ifau.se/
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Keywords: School starting age; school performance; labor market outcomes; regression-discontinuity design;

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References

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," NBER Working Papers 3572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates Of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532, May.
  3. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Hansen, Karsten T & Heckman, James J & Mullen, Kathleen J, 2003. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Working Paper Series 2003:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  5. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Cascio, Elizabeth U. & Lewis, Ethan Gatewood, 2005. "Schooling and the AFQT: Evidence from School Entry Laws," IZA Discussion Papers 1481, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
  9. Edwin Leuven & Mikael Lindahl & Hessel Oosterbeek & Dinand Webbink, 2004. "New evidence on the effect of time in school on early achievement," HEW 0410001, EconWPA.
  10. 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.
  11. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1990. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment: An Application of Instrumental Variables with Moments from Two Samples," Working Papers 654, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  12. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2001. "The effect of grade retention on educational and labor market outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 563-576, December.
  13. Plug, Erik J. S., 2001. "Season of birth, schooling and earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 641-660, October.
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