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Born to Run Behind? Persistent Relative Age Effects on Earnings


  • Roed Larsen, Erling
  • Solli, Ingeborg

    () (UiS)


The relative age effect is an established phenomenon in the literature, but estimates of its strength and duration vary. In order to study the economic magnitude of the effect, we use Norwegian registry data to investigate how birth month affects earnings throughout the full course of life for all Norwegian males born during the period 1940-1949. We examine earnings from 20 to 68 years of age. Our findings suggest that the youngest within a cohort have a relative age disadvantage in early career years that translates into a relative age advantage during late career years. When observing non-discounted life earnings, we find that the two effects cancel out and leave no relative age imprint on life earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Roed Larsen, Erling & Solli, Ingeborg, 2012. "Born to Run Behind? Persistent Relative Age Effects on Earnings," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2012/10, University of Stavanger.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:stavef:2012_010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Puhani, Patrick A. & Weber, Andrea M., 2005. "Does the Early Bird Catch the Worm? Instrumental Variable Estimates of Educational Effects of Age of School Entry in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1827, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Patrick A. Puhani & Andrea M. Weber, 2007. "Persistence of the School Entry Age Effect in a System of Flexible Tracking," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-30, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    3. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Too Young to Leave the Nest? The Effects of School Starting Age," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 455-467, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," RWI Discussion Papers 27, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
    6. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2007. "What can go wrong will go wrong: Birthday effects and early tracking in the German school system," MEA discussion paper series 07138, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    8. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2014. "The drivers of month-of-birth differences in children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 177(4), pages 829-860, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luca Fumarco & Giambattista Rossi, 2015. "Relative Age Effect on Labor Market Outcomes for High Skilled Workers – Evidence from Soccer," Management Working Papers 9, Birkbeck Department of Management, revised Mar 2015.
    2. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:6:p:1087-1124 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Birth date effects; life earnings;

    JEL classification:

    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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