IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/labeco/v47y2017icp35-47.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

How does education improve cognitive skills? Instructional time versus timing of instruction

Author

Listed:
  • Dahmann, Sarah C.

Abstract

This paper investigates two mechanisms through which education may affect cognitive skills in adolescence, exploiting a school reform carried out at the state level in Germany as a quasi-natural experiment to identify causal effects: between 2001 and 2007, years at academic-track high school were reduced by one, leaving the overall curriculum unchanged. First, I exploit the variation over time and across states to identify the effect of an increase in class hours on same-aged students' intelligence scores, using data on seventeen year-olds from the German Socio-Economic Panel. Second, I investigate the influence of earlier instruction at younger ages, using data from the German National Educational Panel Study on high school graduates' competences. The results show that, on average, neither instructional time nor age-distinct timing of instruction significantly improves students' crystallized cognitive skills in adolescence. Yet, there is suggestive evidence that increasing instructional time may benefit male students exacerbating gender differences in numeracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Dahmann, Sarah C., 2017. "How does education improve cognitive skills? Instructional time versus timing of instruction," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 35-47.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:35-47
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2017.04.008
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0927537116302287
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.labeco.2017.04.008?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Anderson, ML, 2008. "Multiple inference and gender differences in the effects of early intervention: A reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt15n8j26f, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    2. Huebener, Mathias & Kuger, Susanne & Marcus, Jan, 2017. "Increased instruction hours and the widening gap in student performance," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 15-34.
    3. Frieder Lang & David Weiss & Andreas Stocker & Bernhard von Rosenbladt, 2007. "Assessing Cognitive Capacities in Computer-Assisted Survey Research: Two Ultra-Short Tests of Intellectual Ability in the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 183-192.
    4. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2015. "The Aftermath of Accelerating Algebra: Evidence from District Policy Initiatives," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 159-188.
    5. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    6. Kalena E. Cortes & Joshua S. Goodman & Takako Nomi, 2015. "Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 108-158.
    7. Daniel A. Kamhöfer & Hendrik Schmitz, 2013. "Analyzing Zero Returns to Education in Germany: Heterogeneous Effects and Skill Formation," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 598, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    8. Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2012. "Does schooling improve cognitive functioning at older ages?," Economics working papers 2012-11, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    9. Maria A. Cattaneo & Chantal Oggenfuss & Stefan C. Wolter, 2017. "The more, the better? The impact of instructional time on student performance," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(5), pages 433-445, September.
    10. Daniel A. Kamhöfer & Hendrik Schmitz, 2016. "Reanalyzing Zero Returns to Education in Germany," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(5), pages 912-919, August.
    11. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-668, September.
    12. Huebener, Mathias & Marcus, Jan, 2017. "Compressing instruction time into fewer years of schooling and the impact on student performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 1-14.
    13. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
    14. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
    15. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
    16. Machin, Stephen & McNally, Sandra, 2008. "The literacy hour," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1441-1462, June.
    17. Sarah Dahmann & Silke Anger, 2014. "The Impact of Education on Personality: Evidence from a German High School Reform," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 658, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    18. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
    19. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 437-449, March.
    20. Magnus Carlsson & Gordon B. Dahl & Björn Öckert & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2015. "The Effect of Schooling on Cognitive Skills," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 533-547, July.
    21. Torberg Falch & Sofia Sandgren Massih, 2011. "The Effect Of Education On Cognitive Ability," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(3), pages 838-856, July.
    22. Elizabeth U. Cascio & Ethan G. Lewis, 2006. "Schooling and the Armed Forces Qualifying Test: Evidence from School-Entry Laws," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
    23. Andrietti, Vincenzo, 2015. "The causal effects of increased learning intensity on student achievement : evidence from a natural experiment," UC3M Working papers. Economics 21136, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    24. Heineck, Guido & Anger, Silke, 2010. "The returns to cognitive abilities and personality traits in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 535-546, June.
    25. James Banks & Fabrizio Mazzonna, 2012. "The Effect of Education on Old Age Cognitive Abilities: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(560), pages 418-448, May.
    26. Harry Krashinsky, 2014. "How Would One Extra Year of High School Affect Academic Performance in University? Evidence from an Educational Policy Change," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 47(1), pages 70-97, February.
    27. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
    28. Thomas Warm, 1989. "Weighted likelihood estimation of ability in item response theory," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 427-450, September.
    29. repec:hrv:hksfac:34298862 is not listed on IDEAS
    30. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    31. Victor Lavy, 2015. "Do Differences in Schools' Instruction Time Explain International Achievement Gaps? Evidence from Developed and Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(588), pages 397-424, November.
    32. Marcotte, Dave E., 2007. "Schooling and test scores: A mother-natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 629-640, October.
    33. Taylor, Eric, 2014. "Spending more of the school day in math class: Evidence from a regression discontinuity in middle school," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 162-181.
    34. Andrietti, Vincenzo, 2015. "The causal effects of increased learning intensity on student achievement: Evidence from a natural experiment," EconStor Preprints 120874, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    35. Quis, Johanna Sophie, 2015. "Does higher learning intensity affect student well-being? Evidence from the National Educational Panel Study," BERG Working Paper Series 94, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group.
    36. Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "Does Education Improve Cognitive Performance Four Decades After School Completion?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(2), pages 619-643, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Huebener, Mathias & Kuger, Susanne & Marcus, Jan, 2017. "Increased instruction hours and the widening gap in student performance," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 15-34.
    2. Vincenzo Andrietti & Xuejuan Su, 2019. "The Impact of Schooling Intensity on Student Learning: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 14(4), pages 679-701, Fall.
    3. Hofmann, Sarah & Mühlenweg, Andrea, 2018. "Learning intensity effects in students’ mental and physical health – Evidence from a large scale natural experiment in Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 216-234.
    4. Simon Briole, 2019. "From Teacher Quality to Teaching Quality: Instructional Productivity and Teaching Practices in the US," Working Papers halshs-01993616, HAL.
    5. Dörsam, Michael & Lauber, Verena, 2015. "The Effect of a Compressed High School Curriculum on University Performance," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 140876, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Daniel A. Kamhöfer & Hendrik Schmitz, 2013. "Analyzing Zero Returns to Education in Germany: Heterogeneous Effects and Skill Formation," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 598, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Huebener, Mathias & Marcus, Jan, 2017. "Compressing instruction time into fewer years of schooling and the impact on student performance," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1-14.
    8. Shoji, Masahiro, 2020. "Early-Life Circumstances and Adult Locus of Control: Evidence from 46 Developing Countries," MPRA Paper 99987, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Islam, Asad & Lee, Wang-Sheng & Nicholas, Aaron, 2021. "The Effects of Chess Instruction on Academic and Non-cognitive Outcomes: Field Experimental Evidence from a Developing Country," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    10. Sarah Dahmann & Silke Anger, 2014. "The Impact of Education on Personality: Evidence from a German High School Reform," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 658, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    11. OIKAWA Masato & TANAKA Ryuichi & BESSHO Shun-ichiro & KAWAMURA Akira & NOGUCHI Haruko, 2022. "Do Class Closures Affect Students' Achievements? Heterogeneous effects of students' socioeconomic backgrounds," Discussion papers 22042, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    12. Huong Thu Le & Ha Trong Nguyen, 2017. "Parental health and children's cognitive and noncognitive development: New evidence from the longitudinal survey of Australian children," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(12), pages 1767-1788, December.
    13. Ryu, Hanbyul & Helfand, Steven M. & Moreira, Roni Barbosa, 2020. "Starting early and staying longer: The effects of a Brazilian primary schooling reform on student performance," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    14. Silke Anger & Guido Heineck, 2010. "Do smart parents raise smart children? The intergenerational transmission of cognitive abilities," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(3), pages 1105-1132, June.
    15. Adrian Hille, 2015. "How a Universal Music Education Program Affects Time Use, Behavior, and School Attitude," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 810, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    16. Thompson, Paul N., 2021. "Is four less than five? Effects of four-day school weeks on student achievement in Oregon," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 193(C).
    17. Daniel A. Kamhöfer & Hendrik Schmitz, 2013. "Analyzing Zero Returns to Education in Germany – Heterogeneous Eff ects and Skill Formation," Ruhr Economic Papers 0446, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    18. Hille, Adrian & Schupp, Jürgen, 2015. "How Learning a Musical Instrument Affects the Development of Skills," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 56-82.
    19. Silke Anger & Daniel D. Schnitzlein, 2017. "Cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, and family background: evidence from sibling correlations," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 591-620, April.
    20. Strazzeri, Maurizio & Oggenfuss, Chantal & Wolter, Stefan C., 2022. "Much Ado about Nothing? School Curriculum Reforms and Students' Educational Trajectories," IZA Discussion Papers 15505, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cognitive skills; Crystallized intelligence; Fluid intelligence; Skill formation; Education; High school reform; Gender skill gap;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:35-47. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.