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When Should Children Start School?

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  • Dionissi Aliprantis

Abstract

This paper studies causal effects informative for deciding the age when children should start kindergarten. I present evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) that standard instrumental variable strategies do not identify effects of delaying kindergarten entry for any subpopulation of interest. I propose and implement a new strategy for identifying individual-level education production function parameters. Estimates indicate that there can be decreasing and even negative returns to relative age: For the oldest children in a cohort, educational achievement in third grade decreases as their age relative to that of their classmates increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Dionissi Aliprantis, 2014. "When Should Children Start School?," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 481-536.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:doi:10.1086/679109
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 175-214.
    2. Goldberger, A.S. & Manski, C.F., 1995. "Review Article: The Bell Curve by Herrnstein and Murray," Working papers 9502, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    3. Mario Fiorini & Michael P. Keane, 2014. "How the Allocation of Children's Time Affects Cognitive and Noncognitive Development," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(4), pages 787-836.
    4. Rashmi Barua & Kevin Lang, 2009. "School Entry, Educational Attainment and Quarter of Birth: A Cautionary Tale of LATE," NBER Working Papers 15236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Dionissi Aliprantis, 2012. "Redshirting, Compulsory Schooling Laws, and Educational Attainment," Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, , vol. 37(2), pages 316-338, April.
    6. Maria Donovan Fitzpatrick, 2010. "Preschoolers Enrolled and Mothers at Work? The Effects of Universal Prekindergarten," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 51-85, January.
    7. Koedel Cory & Leatherman Rebecca & Parsons Eric, 2012. "Test Measurement Error and Inference from Value-Added Models," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-37, November.
    8. Dionissi Aliprantis & Daniel R. Carroll, 2012. "Neighborhood dynamics and the distribution of opportunity," Working Paper 1212, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, revised 01 Feb 2013.
    9. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    10. Patrick J. McEwan & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2008. "The Benefits of Delayed Primary School Enrollment: Discontinuity Estimates Using Exact Birth Dates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    11. Todd E. Elder & Darren H. Lubotsky, 2009. "Kindergarten Entrance Age and Children’s Achievement: Impacts of State Policies, Family Background, and Peers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
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    Cited by:

    1. Suziedelyte, Agne & Zhu, Anna, 2015. "Does early schooling narrow outcome gaps for advantaged and disadvantaged children?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 76-88.
    2. Herbst, Mikołaj & Strawiński, Paweł, 2016. "Early effects of an early start: Evidence from lowering the school starting age in Poland," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 256-271.
    3. Thomas S. Dee & Hans Henrik Sievertsen, 2015. "The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health," NBER Working Papers 21610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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