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Moving up a Gear: The Impact of Compressing Instructional Time into Fewer Years of Schooling

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  • Mathias Huebener
  • Jan Marcus

Abstract

Policy-makers face a trade-off between the provision of higher levels of schooling and earlier labour market entries. A fundamental education reform in Germany tackles this trade-off by reducing high school by one year while leaving the total instructional time unchanged. Employing administrative data on all high school graduates in 2002-2013 in Germany, we exploit both temporal and regional variation in the implementation of the reform and study the overall effectiveness of this reform. We find that compressing the high school track by one year reduces the mean high school graduation age by about 10 months. The probability to repeat a grade level in the course of high school increases by 21 percent (3 percentage points), peaking in the final three years before graduation. However, the high school graduation rate is not affected. The results indicate the reform’s success in reducing the graduation age, though it stays behind its potential benefits for labour markets and social security schemes because of higher grade repetition rates.

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  • Mathias Huebener & Jan Marcus, 2015. "Moving up a Gear: The Impact of Compressing Instructional Time into Fewer Years of Schooling," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1450, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1450
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    1. repec:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:15-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Quis, Johanna Sophie & Reif, Simon, 2017. "Health effects of instruction intensity: Evidence from a natural experiment in German high-schools," BERG Working Paper Series 123, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group.
    3. Sarah Cattan & Daniel A. Kamhöfer & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson, 2017. "The short- and long-term effects of student absence: evidence from Sweden," IFS Working Papers W17/21, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. Meyer, Tobias & Thomsen, Stephan L. & Schneider, Heidrun, 2015. "New Evidence on the Effects of the Shortened School Duration in the German States: An Evaluation of Post-Secondary Education Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 9507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Franz Westermaier, 2016. "The Impact of Lengthening the School Day on Substance Abuse and Crime: Evidence from a German High School Reform," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1616, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Hofmann, Sarah & Mühlenweg, Andrea, 2017. "Learning Intensity Effects in Students' Mental and Physical Health - Evidence from a Large Scale Natural Experiment in Germany," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-622, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    7. Huebener, Mathias & Kuger, Susanne & Marcus, Jan, 2017. "Increased instruction hours and the widening gap in student performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 15-34.
    8. repec:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:35-47 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Dörsam, Michael & Lauber, Verena, 2015. "The Effect of a Compressed High School Curriculum on University Performance," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 140876, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. 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.
    11. Stephan L. Thomsen, 2015. "The impacts of shortening secondary school duration," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 166-166, July.
    12. Cattan, Sarah & Kamhöfer, Daniel A. & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2017. "The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Student Absence: Evidence from Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 10995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Jan Marcus & Vaishali Zambre, 2016. "The Effect of Increasing Education Efficiency on University Enrollment: Evidence from Administrative Data and an Unusual Schooling Reform in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1613, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    14. Mathias Huebener & Jan Marcus, 2015. "Empirische Befunde zu Auswirkungen der G8-Schulzeitverkürzung," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 57, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    15. Cattan, Sarah & Kamhofer, Daniel A. & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2017. "The Short- and Long-term Effects of Student Absence: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 1188, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

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    Keywords

    G12; G8; graduation age; grade repetition; grade retention; graduation rates; learning intensity; diff-in-diff; human capital; instructional time;

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation

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