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The Long-term Effects of School Quality on Labor Market Outcomes and Educational Attainment

  • Christian Dustmann

    ()

    (University College London)

  • Patrick A. Puhani

    ()

    (Leibniz Universität Hannover)

  • Uta Schönberg

    ()

    (University College London, Institute for Employment Research (IAB))

We study the long-term causal effects of attending a "better" school - defined as one with more advanced peers, more highly paid teachers, and a more academic curriculum - on the highest degree completed, wages, occupational choice, and unemployment. We base our analysis on a regression discontinuity design, generated by a school entry age rule, that assigns students to different types of schools based on their date of birth. We find that, even though our case involves larger inter-school differences in peer quality and teaching curricula than in most previous studies, the long-term effect of school quality is very small and not significantly different from zero. This surprising finding is partly explainable by the substantial amount of student up- and downgrading between schools of varying quality at the end of middle school (age 15/16) and at the end of high school (age 18/19). This suggests that giving people a "second chance" during their education can make up for several years of schooling with a less challenging peer group and a less challenging teaching curriculum.

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Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 1208.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1208
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  1. Puhani, Patrick A. & Weber, Andrea M., 2007. "Persistence of the School Entry Age Effect in a System of Flexible Tracking," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-370, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  2. Eric Gould & Victor Lavy & Daniele M. Paserman, 2004. "Immigrating to Opportunity: Estimating The Effect of School Quality Using a Natural Experiment On Ethiopians in Israel," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 489-526, May.
  3. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2008. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 14475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Chetty, Raj & Friedman, John Norton & Hilger, Nathanial & Saez, Emmanuel & Schanzenbach, Dianne Whitmore & Yagan, Danny, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," Scholarly Articles 9639983, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Dustmann, Christian & Ludsteck, Johannes & Schönberg, Uta, 2007. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 2685, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Puhani, Patrick A. & Weber, Andrea M., 2005. "Does the Early Bird Catch the Worm? Instrumental Variable Estimates of Educational Effects of Age of School Entry in Germany," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 25840, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute of Economics (VWL).
  8. Atsushi Inoue & Gary Solon, 2005. "Two-Sample Instrumental Variables Estimators," NBER Technical Working Papers 0311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ammermüller, Andreas & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from PIRLS," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-27, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Too Young to Leave the Nest? The Effects of School Starting Age," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 455-467, May.
  11. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2010. "Under Pressure? The Effect of Peers on Outcomes of Young Adults," IZA Discussion Papers 4946, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Fredriksson, Peter & Öckert, Björn, 2006. "Is early learning really more productive? The effect of school starting age on school and labor market performance," Working Paper Series 2006:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  14. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua Angrist & Parag Pathak, 2014. "The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 137-196, 01.
  15. Maurin, Eric & McNally, Sandra, 2007. "Educational Effects of Widening Access to the Academic Track: A Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2596, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Ofer Malamud & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2011. "School Tracking and Access to Higher Education Among Disadvantaged Groups," NBER Working Papers 16914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Kasey Buckles & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2008. "Season of Birth and Later Outcomes: Old Questions, New Answers," NBER Working Papers 14573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2011. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-33, April.
  19. Caroline M. Hoxby & Sonali Murarka, 2009. "Charter Schools in New York City: Who Enrolls and How They Affect Their Students' Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "Do Students Benefit from Attending Better Schools? Evidence from Rule-based Student Assignments in Trinidad and Tobago," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1399-1429, December.
  21. Cristian Pop-Eleches & Miguel Urquiola, 2011. "Going to a Better School: Effects and Behavioral Responses," NBER Working Papers 16886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2006. "The Persistence of Early Childhood Maturity: International Evidence of Long-Run Age Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1437-1472, November.
  23. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2011. "The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood," NBER Working Papers 17699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Elizabeth Cascio & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2007. "First in the Class? Age and the Education Production Function," NBER Working Papers 13663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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