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Automatic Grade Promotion and Student Performance: Evidence from Brazil

  • Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner


This paper examines the effect of automatic grade promotion on academic achievement in 1,993 public primary schools in Brazil. A difference-in-differences approach that exploits variation over time and across schools in the grade promotion regime allows the identification of the treatment effect of automatic promotion. I find a negative and significant effect of about 7% of a standard deviation on math test scores. I provide evidence in support of the interpretation of the estimates as disincentive effect of automatic promotion. The findings contribute to the understanding of retention policies by focussing on the ex-ante effect of repetition and are important for more complete cost-benefit considerations of grade retention.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Leicester in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 11/52.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision: Sep 2013
Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:11/52
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  8. Dong, Yingying, 2010. "Kept back to get ahead? Kindergarten retention and academic performance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 219-236, February.
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  10. SErgio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," Textos para discussão 533, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
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  17. M. Daniele Paserman & Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2011. "“Inside the Black Box of Ability Peer Effects: Evidence from Variation in the Proportion of Low Achievers in the Classroom”," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-044, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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  23. Lamarche, Carlos, 2011. "Measuring the incentives to learn in Colombia using new quantile regression approaches," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 278-288, November.
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