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

  • Hendrik Jürges


  • Kerstin Schneider

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

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.

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Paper provided by Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in its series MEA discussion paper series with number 07138.

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Date of creation: 16 Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:07138
Contact details of provider: Postal: Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Amalienstraße 33, 80799 München, Germany
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  1. repec:ese:iserwp:2000-32 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Giorgio Brunello & Massimo Giannini, 2001. "Stratified or Comprehensive? The Economic Efficiency of School Design," CESifo Working Paper Series 453, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Edwin Leuven & Mikael Lindahl & Hessel Oosterbeek & Dinand Webbink, 2004. "New evidence on the effect of time in school on early achievement," HEW 0410001, EconWPA.
  4. Patrick Puhani & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Does the early bird catch the worm?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 359-386, May.
  5. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2005. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence across Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 1901, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2006. "The Persistence of Early Childhood Maturity: International Evidence of Long-Run Age Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1437-1472, November.
  8. 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).
  9. 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).
  10. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
  11. Datar, Ashlesha, 2006. "Does delaying kindergarten entrance give children a head start?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 43-62, February.
  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, 08.
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