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Early tracking and the misfortune of being young

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  • Nicole Schneeweis
  • Martina Zweimüller

Abstract

In the Austrian (as well as the German) education system students have to choose between different school tracks at the age of 10. We argue that early tracking creates inefficiencies because the earlier the track choice has to be made, the more it is influenced by factors other than innate ability. Recent evidence suggests that the relative age of a student within a grade is related to his or her achievement, and that this effect is decreasing over grades. Thus, age-related achievement differences probably translate into age-related differences in track choice if track choice has to be made early. In this paper we estimate the effect of observed age on the track choice after grade 4 using register data for a major Austrian city for the period 1984-2006. Since observed age at track choice is endogenous, we exploit the exogenous variation in birth month to identify the causal effect of age. We find a strong and significant positive effect of age on track choice in grades 5-8. Since after grade 8, students again have to make a track choice, we use additional data from PISA 2003 and 2006 to show that the effect is long-lasting in urban areas. Therefore, the education system fails to provide a mechanism that leads to an efficient allocation of students to tracks.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicole Schneeweis & Martina Zweimüller, 2009. "Early tracking and the misfortune of being young," NRN working papers 2009-20, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2009_20
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Schneeweis, Nicole, 2015. "Immigrant concentration in schools: Consequences for native and migrant students," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 63-76.
    2. Ruhose, Jens & Schwerdt, Guido, 2016. "Does early educational tracking increase migrant-native achievement gaps? Differences-in-differences evidence across countries," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 134-154.
    3. Martina Zweimuller, 2013. "The Effects of School Entry Laws on Educational Attainment and Starting Wages in an Early Tracking System," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 111-112, pages 141-169.
    4. Natalia Danzer & Victor Lavy, 2013. "Parental Leave and Children's Schooling Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Large Parental Leave Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 4488, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Herbst, Mikołaj & Strawiński, Paweł, 2016. "Early effects of an early start: Evidence from lowering the school starting age in Poland," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 256-271.
    6. Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2011. "Why Young Boys Stumble: Early Tracking, Age and Gender Bias in the German School System," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(4), pages 371-394, November.
    7. Kuehnle, Daniel & Oberfichtner, Michael, 2017. "Does early child care attendance influence children's cognitive and non-cognitive skill development?," Discussion Papers 100, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    8. Lange, Simon & von Werder, Marten, 2016. "Tracking and the Intergenerational Transmission of Education: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145784, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Natalia Danzer & Martin Halla & Nicole Schneeweis & Martina Zweim�ller, 2017. "Parental Leave, (In)formal Childcare and Long-term Child Outcomes," Working Papers 2017-11, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    10. Caterina Calsamiglia & Annalisa Loviglio, 2016. "Grading On A Curve: When Having Good Peers Is Not Good," Working Papers 940, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    11. Hart, Robert A. & Moro, Mirko, 2017. "Date of Birth and Selective Schooling," IZA Discussion Papers 10949, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Krause, Annabelle & Schüller, Simone, 2014. "Evidence and Persistence of Education Inequality in an Early-Tracking System: The German Case," IZA Discussion Papers 8545, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Kuehnle, Daniel & Oberfichtner, Michael, 2017. "Does early child care attendance influence children's cognitive and non-cognitive skill development?," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168241, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    14. Martins, Luis & Pereira, Manuel C, 2017. "Disentangling the channels from birthdate to educational attainment," MPRA Paper 80607, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 04 Aug 2017.
    15. Simon Lange & Marten von Werder, 2014. "The Effects of Delayed Tracking: Evidence from German States," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 163, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    16. Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Peter Huber & Doris A. Oberdabernig & Anna Raggl, 2015. "Migration in an ageing Europe: What are the challenges?," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 79, WWWforEurope.
    17. Peña, Pablo A., 2017. "Creating winners and losers: Date of birth, relative age in school, and outcomes in childhood and adulthood," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 152-176.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Early tracking; school choice; age effect; instrumental variables; birth month;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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