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How The Timing of Grade Retention Affects Outcomes: Identification and Estimation of Time-Varying Treatment Effects

  • Jane Cooley Fruehwirth

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin--Madison)

  • Salvador Navarro

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Western Ontario)

  • Yuya Takahashi

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Mannheim)

Increasingly, grade retention is viewed as an important alternative to social promotion, yet evidence to date is unable to disentangle how the effect of grade retention varies by abilities and over time. The key challenge is differential selection of students into retention across grades and by abilities. Because existing quasi-experimental methods cannot address this question, we develop a new strategy that is a hybrid between a control function and a generalization of the fixed effects approach. Applying our method to nationally-representative, longitudinal data, we find evidence of dynamic selection into retention and that the treatment effect of retention varies considerably across grades and unobservable abilities of students. Our strategy can be applied more broadly to many time-varying or multiple treatment settings.

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File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Fruehwirth_Navarro_Takahashi_2011-how-timing-grade.pdf
File Function: First version, May 29, 2011
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Paper provided by Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group in its series Working Papers with number 2011-015.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2011-015
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  1. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward Vytlacil, 2006. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 389-432, August.
  2. Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2003. "Using Matching, Instrumental Variables and Control Functions to Estimate Economic Choice Models," IZA Discussion Papers 768, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Cattaneo, Matias D., 2010. "Efficient semiparametric estimation of multi-valued treatment effects under ignorability," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 155(2), pages 138-154, April.
  4. Brian Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2007. "The Effect of Grade Retention on High School Completion," NBER Working Papers 13514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stéphane Bonhomme & Jean-Marc Robin, 2010. "Generalized Non-Parametric Deconvolution with an Application to Earnings Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 491-533.
  6. Pedro Carneiro & Karsten T. Hansen & James J. Heckman, 2003. "Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College," NBER Working Papers 9546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Rosa L. Matzkin, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Nonadditive Random Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1339-1375, 09.
  8. Markus Froelich, 2002. "Programme Evaluation with Multiple Treatments," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-17, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  9. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2007. "The Identification and Economic Content of Ordered Choice Models with Stochastic Thresholds," NBER Technical Working Papers 0340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Yingyao Hu & Susanne M. Schennach, 2008. "Instrumental Variable Treatment of Nonclassical Measurement Error Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 195-216, 01.
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  12. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten & Heckman, James, 2003. "Estimating distributions of treatment effects with an application to the returns to schooling and measurement of the effects of uncertainty on college choice," Working Paper Series 2003:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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  14. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2005. "Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 191-261, April.
  15. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1998. "Evaluating the Welfare State," NBER Working Papers 6542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2007. "The Identification & Economic Content of Ordered Choice Models with Stochastic Thresholds," Working Papers 200726, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  17. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2006. "The Persistence of Early Childhood Maturity: International Evidence of Long-Run Age Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1437-1472, November.
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