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Modeling the Effects of Grade Retention in High School


  • Stijn BAERT

    (Sherppa, Ghent University, University of Antwerp, Universit‚ catholique de Louvain; IZA)

  • Bart COCKX

    (Sherppa, Ghent University, IRES, Universit‚catholique de Louvain, IZA; CESifo)

  • Matteo PICCHIO

    (Universit… Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali)


A dynamic discrete choice model is set up to estimate the effects of grade retention in high school, both in the short- (end-of-year evaluation) and long-run (drop-out and delay). In contrast to regression discontinuity designs, this approach captures treatment heterogeneity and controls for grade-varying unobservable determinants. We deal with initial conditions and with partial observability of the track choices at the start of high school. Forced track downgrading is considered as an alternative remedial measure. In the longrun, grade retention and its alternative have adverse effects on schooling outcomes and, more so, for less able pupils.

Suggested Citation

  • Stijn BAERT & Bart COCKX & Matteo PICCHIO, 2016. "Modeling the Effects of Grade Retention in High School," Working Papers 417, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  • Handle: RePEc:anc:wpaper:417

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    Cited by:

    1. Cockx, B. & Declercq, Koen & Dejemeppe, Muriel, 2022. "Losing prospective entitlement to unemployment benefits. Impact on educational attainment," ROA Research Memorandum 003, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    2. Stijn Baert & Dieter Verhaest, 2021. "Work Hard or Play Hard? Degree Class, Student Leadership and Employment Opportunities," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 83(4), pages 1024-1047, August.
    3. Bach, Maximilian, 2019. "Strategic grade retention," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-059, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    4. Mattia Filomena & Isabella Giorgetti & Matteo Picchio, 2022. "Off To A Bad Start: Youth Nonemployment And Labor Market Outcomes Later In Life," Working Papers 466, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    5. Matteo Picchio & Claudia Pigini & Stefano Staffolani & Alina Verashchagina, 2021. "If not now, when? The timing of childbirth and labor market outcomes," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(6), pages 663-685, September.
    6. Neyt, Brecht & Verhaest, Dieter & Baert, Stijn, 2020. "The impact of dual apprenticeship programmes on early labour market outcomes: A dynamic approach," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    7. De Groote, Olivier, 2019. "Dynamic Effort Choice in High School: Costs and Benefits of an Academic Track," TSE Working Papers 19-1002, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Jun 2023.
    8. Brecht Neyt & Dieter Verhaest & Stijn Baert, 2019. "The Impact of Internship Experience During Secondary Education on Schooling and Labour Market Outcomes," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 19/980, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    9. Baert, Stijn & Picchio, Matteo, 2021. "A signal of (Train)ability? Grade repetition and hiring chances," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 867-878.
    10. Simon ter Meulen, 2023. "Long-Term Effects of Grade Retention," CESifo Working Paper Series 10212, CESifo.
    11. Annalisa Loviglio, 2023. "School Quality Beyond Test Scores: the Role of Schools in Shaping Educational Outcomes," Working Papers wp1184, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    12. Javier Valbuena & Mauro Mediavilla & Álvaro Choi & María Gil, 2021. "Effects Of Grade Retention Policies: A Literature Review Of Empirical Studies Applying Causal Inference," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 408-451, April.
    13. Servaas van der Berg & Gabrielle Wills & Rebecca Selkirk & Charles Adams & Chris van Wyk, 2019. "The cost of repetition in South Africa," Working Papers 13/2019, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    14. Loviglio, Annalisa, 2023. "School Quality beyond Test Scores: The Role of Schools in Shaping Educational Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 16111, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Emilio Borghesan & Hugo Reis & Petra E. Todd, 2022. "Learning Through Repetition? A Dynamic Evaluation of Grade Retention in Portugal," PIER Working Paper Archive 22-030, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    16. Zhang, Shiying & Huang, Ao, 2022. "The long-term effects of automatic grade promotion on child development," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    17. By Stijn Baert & Brecht Neyt & Eddy Omey & Dieter Verhaest, 2022. "Student work during secondary education, educational achievement, and later employment: a dynamic approach," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 63(3), pages 1605-1635, September.
    18. Baert, Stijn & Neyt, Brecht & Omey, Eddy & Verhaest, Dieter, 2017. "Student Work, Educational Achievement, and Later Employment: A Dynamic Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 11127, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item


    Education; dynamic discrete choice models; grade retention; heterogeneous treatment effects; track mobility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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