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Does the Early Bird Catch the Worm or a Lower GPA? Evidence from a Liberal Arts College

Author

Listed:
  • Timothy M. Diette

    (Department of Economics, Washington and Lee University)

  • Manu Raghav

    (Department of Economics and Management, DePauw University)

Abstract

Colleges and universities with capacity constraints like to offer early morning classes to maximize the use of classrooms. Moreover, evenings are often reserved for extra-curricular activities. However, research from psychology has shown that a teenager’s mind benefits from additional sleep during early morning hours. We use data from a selective liberal arts college that assigns students randomly to different sections of the same course. This creates a natural experiment. Our paper shows that after controlling for other factors, students in early morning sections earn lower grades than students in sections of the same course offered later in the day. The result holds for all the courses offered at this institution. Grades are especially low for 8 am and 9 am classes for both genders, although the effect is larger for male students. This suggests that trade-offs exist between optimal use of classroom space and learning outcomes for students.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:dew:wpaper:2016-100
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    File URL: https://www.depauw.edu/site/learn/dew/wpaper/workingpapers/DePauw2016-01-Diette-Raghav-Time-Paper.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cortes, Kalena E. & Bricker, Jesse & Rohlfs, Chris, 2010. "The Role of Specific Subjects in Education Production Functions: Evidence from Morning Classes in Chicago Public High Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 5031, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Nolan G. Pope, 2016. "How the Time of Day Affects Productivity: Evidence from School Schedules," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(1), pages 1-11, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Eric R Eide & Mark H Showalter, 2012. "Sleep and Student Achievement," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 38(4), pages 512-524.
    5. 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.
    6. Timothy M Diette & Manu Raghav, 2015. "Class Size Matters: Heterogeneous Effects of Larger Classes on College Student Learning," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 41(2), pages 273-283, March.
    7. repec:taf:edecon:v:24:y:2016:i:6:p:612-621 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Jesse Bricker & Kalena E. Cortes & Chris Rohlfs, 2010. "The role of specific subjects in education production functions: evidence from morning classes in Chicago public high schools," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-33, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).
    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.
    10. Dills, Angela K. & Hernández-Julián, Rey, 2008. "Course scheduling and academic performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 646-654, December.
    11. Alexandra C. Achen & Paul N. Courant, 2009. "What Are Grades Made Of?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 77-92, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:reihed:v:59:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s11162-017-9478-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:62:y:2018:i:c:p:12-15 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:158-170 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Class time; grades; GPA; student learning;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy

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