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When should children start school?

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  • Dionissi Aliprantis

Abstract

Kindergarten-entrance-age effects are difficult to identify due to the nonrandom allocation of entrance-age and simultaneous relative-age effects. This paper presents evidence that instrumental variable frameworks do not identify age effects for the youngest children of a cohort using the results of statistical tests for essential heterogeneity in initial enrollment decisions. Restricting attention to the oldest children in a cohort yields a sample with quasirandom variation in entrance and relative ages. This variation is used to identify the parameters of education production functions in which both entrance and relative ages are inputs for achievement. Estimates of entrance-age parameters from the ECLS-K data set are positive, large, and persist until the spring of third grade. Relative-age parameters are smaller, tend to be negative, and fade-out for math achievement by third grade. For the average child in our sample these estimates imply that both an earlier entrance cutoff date and an earlier birthdate will increase achievement if the child remains eligible. There is extreme heterogeneity in effects by gender and home environment, and these results are likely to be the most relevant for policy.

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  • Dionissi Aliprantis, 2012. "When should children start school?," Working Paper 1126, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1126
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. When should a child start school?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-11-18 21:33:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Aliprantis, Dionissi, 2007. "A Note on Why Quarter of Birth is Not a Valid Instrument for Educational Attainment," MPRA Paper 5168, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "Identifying the drivers of month of birth differences in educational attainment," DoQSS Working Papers 13-07, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    3. Herbst, Mikołaj & Strawiński, Paweł, 2016. "Early effects of an early start: Evidence from lowering the school starting age in Poland," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 256-271.
    4. Thomas S. Dee & Hans Henrik Sievertsen, 2015. "The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health," NBER Working Papers 21610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "The impact of age within academic year on adult outcomes," DoQSS Working Papers 13-05, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.

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    Keywords

    Education ; Early childhood education;

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