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Early to rise? The effect of daily start times on academic performance

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  • Edwards, Finley

Abstract

Local school districts often stagger daily start times for their schools in order to reduce busing costs. This paper uses data on all middle school students in Wake County, NC from 1999 to 2006 to identify the causal effect of daily start times on academic performance. Using variation in start times within schools over time, the effect is a two percentile point gain in math test scores – roughly fourteen percent of the black–white test score gap. I find similar results for reading scores and using variation in start times across schools. The effect is stronger for students in the lower end of the distribution of test scores. I find evidence supporting increased sleep as a mechanism through which start times affect test scores. Later start times compare favorably on cost grounds to other education interventions which result in similar test score gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Edwards, Finley, 2012. "Early to rise? The effect of daily start times on academic performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 970-983.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:31:y:2012:i:6:p:970-983
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2012.07.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    2. Dills, Angela K. & Hernández-Julián, Rey, 2008. "Course scheduling and academic performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 646-654, December.
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    4. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731, April.
    5. Fügenschuh, Armin, 2009. "Solving a school bus scheduling problem with integer programming," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 193(3), pages 867-884, March.
    6. Cortes Kalena E. & Bricker Jesse & Rohlfs Chris, 2012. "The Role of Specific Subjects in Education Production Functions: Evidence from Morning Classes in Chicago Public High Schools," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-36, June.
    7. Corak, Miles & Lauzon, Darren, 2009. "Differences in the distribution of high school achievement: The role of class-size and time-in-term," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 189-198, April.
    8. Scott E. Carrell & Teny Maghakian & James E. West, 2011. "A's from Zzzz's? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Achievement of Adolescents," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 62-81, August.
    9. Peter Hinrichs, 2011. "When the Bell Tolls: The Effects of School Starting Times on Academic Achievement," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 486-507, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lusher, Lester & Yasenov, Vasil, 2016. "Gender Performance Gaps: Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Role of Gender Differences in Sleep Cycles," IZA Discussion Papers 10012, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Timothy M. Diette & Manu Raghav, 2016. "Does the Early Bird Catch the Worm or a Lower GPA? Evidence from a Liberal Arts College," Working Papers 2016-01, DePauw University, Department of Economics and Management.
    3. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    4. Groen, Jeffrey A. & Pabilonia, Sabrina Wulff, 2017. "Snooze or Lose: High School Start Times and Academic Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 11166, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Osea Giuntella & Wei Han & Fabrizio Mazzonna, 2017. "Circadian Rhythms, Sleep, and Cognitive Skills: Evidence From an Unsleeping Giant," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(5), pages 1715-1742, October.
    6. Herber, Stefanie P. & Quis, Johanna Sophie & Heineck, Guido, 2017. "Does the transition into daylight saving time affect students’ performance?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 130-139.
    7. Ellegood, William A. & Campbell, James F. & North, Jeremy, 2015. "Continuous approximation models for mixed load school bus routing," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 182-198.
    8. Teny Maghakian Shapiro, 2015. "The educational effects of school start times," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 181-181, August.
    9. Wang, Kurt & Sabia, Joseph J. & Cesur, Resul, 2016. "Sleepwalking through School: New Evidence on Sleep and Academic Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 9829, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Lusher, Lester & Yasenov, Vasil, 2016. "Double-shift schooling and student success: Quasi-experimental evidence from Europe," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 36-39.
    11. Giuntella, Osea & Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2016. "If You Don't Snooze You Lose: Evidence on Health and Weight," IZA Discussion Papers 9773, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Luong, Phuc & Lusher, Lester & Yasenov, Vasil, 2017. "Sleep and Student Success: The Role of Regularity vs. Duration," IZA Discussion Papers 11079, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. repec:bla:coecpo:v:35:y:2017:i:2:p:331-344 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:dew:wpaper:2016-01 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Start times; Test scores; Education production function; Middle school; Sleep;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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