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What can go wrong will go wrong: Birthday effects and early tracking in the German school system

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  • Hendrik Jürges

    ()

  • Kerstin Schneider

    (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

Abstract

At the age of ten German pupils are given a secondary school track recommendation which largely determines the actual track choice. Track choice has major effects on the life course, mainly through labor market outcomes. Using data from the German PISA extension study, we analyze the effect of month of birth and thus relative age on such recommendations. We find that younger pupils are less often recommended to and actually attend Gymnasium, the most attractive track in terms of later life outcomes. Flexible enrolment and grade retention partly offset these inequalities and the relative age effect dissipates as students age.

Suggested Citation

  • Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2007. "What can go wrong will go wrong: Birthday effects and early tracking in the German school system," MEA discussion paper series 07138, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:07138
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Giorgio Brunello & Massimo Giannini, 2004. "Stratified or Comprehensive? The Economic Efficiency of School Design," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 173-193, May.
    2. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wössmann, 2006. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences- in-Differences Evidence Across Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 63-76, March.
    3. Patrick Puhani & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Does the early bird catch the worm?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 359-386, May.
    4. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
    5. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2001. "The effect of grade retention on educational and labor market outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 563-576, December.
    6. 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).
    7. 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.
    8. Edwin Leuven & Mikael Lindahl & Hessel Oosterbeek & Dinand Webbink, 2004. "New evidence on the effect of time in school on early achievement," HEW 0410001, EconWPA.
    9. Datar, Ashlesha, 2006. "Does delaying kindergarten entrance give children a head start?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 43-62, February.
    10. 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).
    11. repec:zbw:rwidps:0027 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2004. "International Differences in Student Achievement: An Economic Perspective," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(3), pages 357-380, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marc Piopiunik, 2011. "Microeconometric Analyses of Education Production in Germany," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 40, June.
    2. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "Identifying the drivers of month of birth differences in educational attainment," DoQSS Working Papers 13-07, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    3. Nicole Schneeweis & Martina Zweimüller, 2014. "Early Tracking and the Misfortune of Being Young," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(2), pages 394-428, April.
    4. Stefan Bauernschuster & Oliver Falck & Stephan Heblich, 2009. "Training and Innovation," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 323-353.
    5. Cygan-Rehm, Kamila & Mäder, Miriam, 2012. "The Effect of Education on Fertility: Evidence from a Compulsory Schooling Reform," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62037, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Marc Piopiunik, 2011. "Intergenerational Transmission of Education and Mediating Channels: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Reforms in Germany," ifo Working Paper Series 107, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    7. Roed Larsen, Erling & Solli, Ingeborg, 2012. "Born to Run Behind? Persistent Relative Age Effects on Earnings," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2012/10, University of Stavanger.
    8. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "The impact of age within academic year on adult outcomes," DoQSS Working Papers 13-05, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    9. Ponzo, Michela & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2014. "The long-lasting effects of school entry age: Evidence from Italian students," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 578-599.
    10. Bahrs, Michael & Schumann, Mathias, 2016. "Unlucky to Be Young? The Long-Term Effects of School Starting Age on Smoking Behaviour and Health," hche Research Papers 2016/13, University of Hamburg, Hamburg Center for Health Economics (hche).
    11. Kamila Cygan-Rehm & Miriam Maeder, 2012. "The Effect of Education on Fertility: Evidence from a Compulsory Schooling Reform," Working Papers 121, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    12. Martin Schlotter, 2011. "The Effect of Preschool Attendance on Secondary School Track Choice in Germany - Evidence from Siblings," ifo Working Paper Series 106, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    13. Francesco Cinnirella & Marc Piopiunik & Joachim Winter, 2010. "Why Does Height Matter for Educational Attainment? Evidence from German Pre-Teen Children," CESifo Working Paper Series 2983, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Kamila Cygan-Rehm & Miriam Maeder, 2012. "The Effect of Education on Fertility: Evidence from a Compulsory Schooling Reform," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 528, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    15. Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2010. "Central exit examinations increase performance... but take the fun out of mathematics," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(2), pages 497-517, March.
    16. Cinnirella, Francesco & Piopiunik, Marc & Winter, Joachim, 2011. "Why does height matter for educational attainment? Evidence from German children," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 407-418.
    17. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6913 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Solli, Ingeborg, 2012. "Left behind by birth month," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2012/8, University of Stavanger.
    19. Marc Piopiunik & Martin Schlotter, 2012. "Identifying the Incidence of "Grading on a Curve": A Within-Student Across-Subject Approach," ifo Working Paper Series 121, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

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