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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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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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    2. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Tobias Meyer & Stephan L. Thomsen & Heidrun Schneider, 2019. "New Evidence on the Effects of the Shortened School Duration in the German States: An Evaluation of Post‐secondary Education Decisions," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 20(4), pages 201-253, November.
    4. Dorner, Matthias & Görlitz, Katja, 2020. "Training, wages and a missing school graduation cohort," Ruhr Economic Papers 858, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Dominique Sulzmaier, 2020. "The causal effect of early tracking in German schools on the intergenerational transmission of education," Working Papers 187, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    6. Hofmann, Sarah & Mühlenweg, Andrea, 2018. "Learning intensity effects in students’ mental and physical health – Evidence from a large scale natural experiment in Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 216-234.
    7. Obergruber, Natalie & Zierow, Larissa, 2020. "Students’ behavioural responses to a fallback option - Evidence from introducing interim degrees in german schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Ahmed Elsayed & Olivier Marie, 2020. "Less School (Costs), More (Female) Education? Lessons from Egypt Reducing Years of Compulsory Schooling," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 20-037/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Vincenzo Andrietti & Xuejuan Su, 2019. "The Impact of Schooling Intensity on Student Learning: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 14(4), pages 679-701, Fall.
    12. Stephan L. Thomsen, 2015. "The impacts of shortening secondary school duration," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 166-166, July.
    13. Bietenbeck, Jan & Leibing, Andreas & Marcus, Jan & Weinhardt, Felix, 2023. "Tuition fees and educational attainment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).
    14. Hertweck, Friederike, 2022. "Student performance in large cohorts: Evidence from unexpected enrollment shocks," Ruhr Economic Papers 984, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    15. Schneider, Sophie Therese, 2018. "North-South trade agreements and the quality of institutions: Panel data evidence," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 27-2018, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    16. 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.
    17. Marcus, Jan & Reif, Simon & Wuppermann, Amelie & Rouche, Amélie, 2020. "Increased instruction time and stress-related health problems among school children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    18. 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.
    19. Michael Doersam & Verena Lauber, 2019. "The Effect of a Compressed High School Curriculum on University Performance," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2019-03, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    20. Quis, Johanna Sophie & Mehl, Simon, 2018. "Health Effects of Instruction Intensity: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in German High-Schools," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181619, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    21. Dörsam, Michael & Lauber, Verena, 2015. "The Effect of a Compressed High School Curriculum on University Performance," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 140876, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    22. Jan Marcus & Vaishali Zambre, 2019. "The Effect of Increasing Education Efficiency on University Enrollment: Evidence from Administrative Data and an Unusual Schooling Reform in Germany," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(2), pages 468-502.
    23. Josefine Koebe & Jan Marcus, 2020. "The Impact of the Length of Schooling on the Timing of Family Formation," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1896, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    24. Josefine Koebe & Jan Marcus, 2022. "The Length of Schooling and the Timing of Family Formation [Income Taxes and the Timing of Marital Decisions]," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 68(1), pages 1-45.
    25. Camarero Garcia, Sebastian, 2022. "Inequality of Educational Opportunities and the Role of Learning Intensity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).

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    Keywords

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

    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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