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The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Fertig, Michael

    () (ISG, Cologne)

  • Kluve, Jochen

    () (Humboldt University Berlin, RWI)

Abstract

Determining the optimal age at which a child should enter school is a controversial topic in education policy. In particular, German policy makers, pedagogues, parents, and teachers have since long discussed whether the traditional, established age of school entry at 6 years remains appropriate. Policies of encouraging early school entry or increased consideration of a particular child's competency for school ("Schulfähigkeit") have been suggested. Using a dataset capturing children who entered school in the late 1960s through the late 1970s, a time when delaying enrolment was common, we investigate the effect of age at school entry on educational attainment for West and East Germany. Empirical results from linear probability models and matching suggest a qualitatively negative relation between the age at school entry and educational outcomes both in terms of schooling degree and probability of having to repeat a grade. These findings are likely driven by unobserved ability differences between early and late entrants. We therefore use a cut-off date rule and the corresponding age at school entry according to the regulation to instrument the actual age at school entry. The IV estimates suggest there is no effect of age at school entry on educational performance.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1507
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James Heckman, 2011. "Policies to foster human capital," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 73-137.
    2. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
    3. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
    4. 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).
    5. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment: An Application of Instrumental Variables with Moments from Two Samples," NBER Working Papers 3571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Guido W. Imbens, 1999. "The Role of the Propensity Score in Estimating Dose-Response Functions," NBER Technical Working Papers 0237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Edwin Leuven & Mikael Lindahl & Hessel Oosterbeek & Dinand Webbink, 2004. "New evidence on the effect of time in school on early achievement," HEW 0410001, EconWPA.
    8. Del Bono, Emilia & Galindo-Rueda, Fernando, 2004. "Do a Few Months of Compulsory Schooling Matter? The Education and Labour Market Impact of School Leaving Rules," IZA Discussion Papers 1233, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    schooling; matching; instrumental variables;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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