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The drivers of month-of-birth differences in children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills

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  • Claire Crawford
  • Lorraine Dearden
  • Ellen Greaves

Abstract

type="main" xml:id="rssa12071-abs-0001"> Previous research has found that children who are born later in the academic year have lower educational attainment, on average, than children who are born earlier in the year, especially at younger ages; much less is known about the mechanisms that drive this inequality. The paper uses two complementary identification strategies to estimate an upper bound of the effect of age at test by using rich data from two UK birth cohorts. We find that differences in the age at which cognitive skills are tested accounts for the vast majority of the difference in these outcomes between children who are born at different times of the year, whereas the combined effect of the other factors (age of starting school, length of schooling and relative age) is close to zero. This suggests that applying an age adjustment to national achievement test scores may be an appropriate policy response to overcome the penalty that is associated with being born later in the academic year. Age at test does not, however, explain all of the difference in children's view of their own scholastic competence. Age adjusting national achievement test scores may help to overcome differences in ability beliefs between children who are born at different times of the year, but our results suggest that additional policy responses may be required.

Suggested Citation

  • Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2014. "The drivers of month-of-birth differences in children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 177(4), pages 829-860, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:177:y:2014:i:4:p:829-860
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Simone Balestra & Beatrix Eugster & Helge Liebert, 2017. "The Effect of School Starting Age on Special Needs Incidence and Child Development into Adolescence," CESifo Working Paper Series 6837, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Lionel Page & Dipanwita Sarkar & Juliana Silva-Goncalves, 2018. "Long-lasting effects of relative age at school," QuBE Working Papers 056, QUT Business School.
    3. repec:eso:journl:v:48:y:2017:i:3:p:281-304 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Fischer, Martin & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Schwarz, Nina, 2017. "The long-term effects of long terms: Compulsory schooling reforms in Sweden," Ruhr Economic Papers 733, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Roed Larsen, Erling & Solli, Ingeborg, 2012. "Born to Run Behind? Persistent Relative Age Effects on Earnings," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2012/10, University of Stavanger.
    6. repec:bla:asiaps:v:4:y:2017:i:3:p:586-601 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Lionel Page & Dipanwita Sarkar & Juliana S. Goncalves, 2015. "The older the bolder? Does relative age among peers influence children's confidence and risk attitudes?," QuBE Working Papers 029, QUT Business School.
    8. 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.
    9. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "The impact of age within academic year on adult outcomes," DoQSS Working Papers 13-05, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    10. Ballatore, Rosario Maria & Paccagnella, Marco & Tonello, Marco, 2017. "Bullied because younger than my mates? The effect of age rank on victimization at school," GLO Discussion Paper Series 116, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    11. Tukiainen, Janne & Takalo, Tuomas & Hulkkonen, Topi, 2017. "Gender Specific Relative Age Effects in Politics and Football," Working Papers 94, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    12. Kumara, Ajantha Sisira, 2015. "Wage Differentials in Sri Lanka: The case of a post-conflict country with a free education policy," MPRA Paper 68068, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 25 Nov 2015.
    13. repec:eee:pubeco:v:158:y:2018:i:c:p:79-102 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:taf:edecon:v:25:y:2017:i:4:p:323-346 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:32-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Daniel Muller & Lionel Page, 2016. "Born leaders: political selection and the relative age effect in the US Congress," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 179(3), pages 809-829, June.
    17. repec:eee:joepsy:v:63:y:2017:i:c:p:43-81 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:66:y:2018:i:c:p:183-190 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. repec:spr:stpapr:v:58:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00362-016-0745-z is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:eee:labeco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:200-210 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Solli, Ingeborg, 2012. "Left behind by birth month," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2012/8, University of Stavanger.
    22. Peña, Pablo A., 2017. "Creating winners and losers: Date of birth, relative age in school, and outcomes in childhood and adulthood," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 152-176.
    23. repec:eee:poleco:v:58:y:2019:i:c:p:50-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. repec:eee:jeborg:v:153:y:2018:i:c:p:38-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Tukiainen, Janne & Takalo, Tuomas & Hulkkonen, Topi, 2019. "Relative age effects in political selection," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 50-63.

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