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Early tracking and the misfortune of being young

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Author Info

  • Nicole Schneeweis
  • Martina Zweimüller

Abstract

In the Austrian (as well as the German) education system students have to choose between different school tracks at the age of 10. We argue that early tracking creates inefficiencies because the earlier the track choice has to be made, the more it is influenced by factors other than innate ability. Recent evidence suggests that the relative age of a student within a grade is related to his or her achievement, and that this effect is decreasing over grades. Thus, age-related achievement differences probably translate into age-related differences in track choice if track choice has to be made early. In this paper we estimate the effect of observed age on the track choice after grade 4 using register data for a major Austrian city for the period 1984-2006. Since observed age at track choice is endogenous, we exploit the exogenous variation in birth month to identify the causal effect of age. We find a strong and significant positive effect of age on track choice in grades 5-8. Since after grade 8, students again have to make a track choice, we use additional data from PISA 2003 and 2006 to show that the effect is long-lasting in urban areas. Therefore, the education system fails to provide a mechanism that leads to an efficient allocation of students to tracks.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series NRN working papers with number 2009-20.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2009_20

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Postal: NRN Labor Economics and the Welfare State, c/o Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, Altenbergerstr. 69, 4040 Linz
Phone: +43-732-2468-8216
Fax: +43-732-2468-8217
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Web page: http://www.labornrn.at/
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Keywords: Early tracking; school choice; age effect; instrumental variables; birth month;

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References

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  1. Manning, Alan & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Comprehensive versus Selective Schooling in England in Wales: What Do We Know?," IZA Discussion Papers 2072, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  13. Brunello, Giorgio & Giannini, Massimo & Ariga, Kenn, 2004. "The Optimal Timing of School Tracking," IZA Discussion Papers 995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  16. Duflo, Esther & Dupas, Pascaline & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Peer Effects and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," CEPR Discussion Papers 7043, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  21. Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman & Analia Schlosser, 2008. "Inside the Black of Box of Ability Peer Effects: Evidence from Variation in the Proportion of Low Achievers in the Classroom," NBER Working Papers 14415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  24. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Uusitalo, Roope & Kerr, Sari, 2009. "School tracking and intergenerational income mobility: Evidence from the Finnish comprehensive school reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 965-973, August.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Martina ZWEIMULLER, 2013. "The Effects of School Entry Laws on Educational Attainment and Starting Wages in an Early Tracking System," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 111-112, pages 6.
  3. Nicole Schneeweis, 2013. "Immigrant concentration in schools: Consequences for native and migrant students," Economics working papers 2013-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  4. Natalia Danzer & Victor Lavy, 2013. "Parental Leave and Children’s Schooling Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Large Parental Leave Reform," NBER Working Papers 19452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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