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Are We Spending Too Many Years in School? Causal Evidence of the Impact of Shortening Secondary School Duration

  • Bettina Büttner


    (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

  • Stephan Thomsen


    (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

This paper analyzes the impact of shortening the duration of secondary schooling on the accumulation of human capital. In 2003, an educational policy reform was enacted in Saxony-Anhalt, a German state, providing a natural experimental setting. The thirteenth year of schooling was eliminated for those students currently attending the ninth grade. Tenth grade students were unaffected. The academic curriculum remained almost unaltered. Primary data collected from the double cohort of 2007 Abitur graduates reveals signficantly negative effects for both genders in mathematics. Only females were negatively effected in English and the results obtained in German literature were statistically insignificant.

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Paper provided by Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management in its series FEMM Working Papers with number 100008.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:100008
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  1. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen & von Wachter, Till, 2005. "Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany: Evidence and Interpretation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5105, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jong-Wha Lee & Robert J. Barro, 1997. "Schooling Quality in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 6198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Julien Grenet, 2013. "Is Extending Compulsory Schooling Alone Enough to Raise Earnings? Evidence from French and British Compulsory Schooling Laws," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(1), pages 176-210, 01.
  4. Fuchs, Thomas & Wößmann, Ludger, 2007. "What accounts for international differences in student performance? A re-examination using PISA data," Munich Reprints in Economics 20303, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2003. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence from the German Short School Years," IZA Discussion Papers 874, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Eren,Ozkan & Henderson,J. Daniel, 2006. "The Impact of Homework on Student Achievement," Departmental Working Papers 0518, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics, revised 12 May 2006.
  7. Harry Krashinsky, 2014. "How Would One Extra Year of High School Affect Academic Performance in University? Evidence from an Educational Policy Change," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 47(1), pages 70-97, February.
  8. Oosterbeek, Hessel & Webbink, Dinand, 2007. "Wage effects of an extra year of basic vocational education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 408-419, August.
  9. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
  10. Vegard Skirbekk, 2006. "Does School Duration Affect Student Performance? Findings from Canton-Based Variation in Swiss Educational Length," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 142(I), pages 115-145, March.
  11. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "The role of cognitive skills in economic development," Munich Reprints in Economics 20454, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Andrea M. Mühlenweg & Patrick A. Puhani, 2010. "The Evolution of the School-Entry Age Effect in a School Tracking System," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(2).
  13. Aksoy, Tevfik & Link, Charles R., 2000. "A panel analysis of student mathematics achievement in the US in the 1990s: does increasing the amount of time in learning activities affect math achievement?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 261-277, June.
  14. Eric A. Hanushek, 2005. "The Economics of School Quality," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(3), pages 269-286, 08.
  15. Marcotte, Dave E., 2007. "Schooling and test scores: A mother-natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 629-640, October.
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