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Schooling and the AFQT: evidence from school entry laws

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  • Elizabeth Cascio
  • Ethan Lewis

Abstract

Is the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) a measure of achievement or ability? The answer to this question is critical for drawing inferences from studies in which it is employed. In this paper, we test for a relationship between schooling and AFQT performance in the NLSY 79 by comparing test-takers with birthdays near state cutoff dates for school entry. We instrument for schooling at the test date with academic cohort—the year in which an individual should have entered first grade—in a model that allows age at the test date to have a direct effect on AFQT performance. This identification strategy reveals large impacts of schooling on the AFQT performance of racial minorities, providing support for the hypothesis that the AFQT measures school achievement.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Cascio & Ethan Lewis, 2005. "Schooling and the AFQT: evidence from school entry laws," Working Papers 05-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:05-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J. & Mullen, K.J.Kathleen J., 2004. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 39-98.
    2. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
    3. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    4. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-266, May.
    5. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 447-464, May.
    6. Blackburn, McKinley L & Neumark, David, 1993. "Omitted-Ability Bias and the Increase in the Return to Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 521-544, July.
    7. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    8. Heckman, James J, 1995. "Lessons from the Bell Curve," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 1091-1120, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
    2. Dobkin, Carlos & Ferreira, Fernando, 2010. "Do school entry laws affect educational attainment and labor market outcomes?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 40-54, February.
    3. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2013. "Who Is ‘Behavioral’? Cognitive Ability And Anomalous Preferences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(6), pages 1231-1255, December.
    4. Justin McCrary & Heather Royer, 2011. "The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 158-195, February.
    5. Rashmi Barua & Kevin Lang, 2009. "School Entry, Educational Attainment and Quarter of Birth: A Cautionary Tale of LATE," NBER Working Papers 15236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Kevin Denny & Orla Doyle, 2005. "Returns to basic skills in Central & Eastern Europe : a semi parametric approach," Working Papers 200507, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    7. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Wealth, and Background Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1109-1150, December.
    8. Dan Black & Jeffrey Smith & Kermit Daniel, 2005. "College Quality and Wages in the United States," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(3), pages 415-443, August.
    9. Elizabeth Cascio, 2005. "School Progression and the Grade Distribution of Students: Evidence from the Current Population Survey," Working Papers 56, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    10. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    11. Martha J. Bailey & Susan M. Dynarski, 2011. "Gains and Gaps: Changing Inequality in U.S. College Entry and Completion," NBER Working Papers 17633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Fredriksson, Peter & Öckert, Björn, 2005. "Is Early Learning Really More Productive? The Effect of School Starting Age on School and Labor Market Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 1659, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2006. "Estimating the Returns to College Quality with Multiple Proxies for Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 701-728, July.
    14. Vidal-Fernández Marian, 2011. "The Effect of Minimum Academic Requirements to Participate in Sports on High School Graduation," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-21, August.
    15. David Loughran & Ashlesha Datar & M. Kilburn, 2008. "The response of household parental investment to child endowments," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 223-242, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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