IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, May 29, 2011
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group in its series Working Papers with number 2011-015.

in new window

Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2011-015
Note: M
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2007. "Dynamic discrete choice and dynamic treatment effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 341-396, February.
  2. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2007. "The Identification And Economic Content Of Ordered Choice Models With Stochastic Thresholds," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1273-1309, November.
  3. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2002. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," NBER Working Papers 8918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ham, John C & LaLonde, Robert J, 1996. "The Effect of Sample Selection and Initial Conditions in Duration Models: Evidence from Experimental Data on Training," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 175-205, January.
  5. Stéphane Bonhomme & Jean-Marc Robin, 2008. "Generalized nonparametric deconvolution with an application to earnings dynamics," CeMMAP working papers CWP03/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Schennach, Susanne, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 4702, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Heckman, James & Navarro-Lozano, Salvador, 2003. "Using matching, instrumental variables and control functions to estimate economic choice models," Working Paper Series 2003:4, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  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. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2006. "The Persistence of Early Childhood Maturity: International Evidence of Long-Run Age Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1437-1472.
  10. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2006. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," NBER Working Papers 12574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. S. A. Murphy, 2003. "Optimal dynamic treatment regimes," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 65(2), pages 331-355.
  12. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, 09.
  13. 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.
  14. Rosa L. Matzkin, 1999. "Nonparametric Estimation of Nonadditive Random Functions," Working Papers 38, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Sep 2001.
  15. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2004. "Separating Uncertainty from Heterogeneity in Life Cycle Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 1437, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  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. Brian Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2007. "The Effect of Grade Retention on High School Completion," NBER Working Papers 13514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. Stephanie Riegg Cellini & Fernando Ferreira & Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "The Value of School Facility Investments: Evidence from a Dynamic Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 215-261.
  20. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1998. "Evaluating the Welfare State," NBER Working Papers 6542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Heckman, James J, 1990. "Varieties of Selection Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 313-18, May.
  22. 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.
  23. Yingyao Hu & Susanne M. Schennach, 2008. "Instrumental Variable Treatment of Nonclassical Measurement Error Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 195-216, 01.
  24. Susanne M. Schennach, 2004. "Estimation of Nonlinear Models with Measurement Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 33-75, 01.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2011-015. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jennifer Pachon)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.