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Disentangling the channels from birthdate to educational attainment

Listed author(s):
  • Martins, Luis
  • Pereira, Manuel C

This paper uses a large multi-country database with data from the OECD PISA program to disentangle the effects of birthdate on educational performance. As far as age effects are concerned, we conclude that children are disadvantaged because they are the youngest in class (relative age effect), not because they are young per se. Our findings go against delaying mandatory school entry as a general policy, as there is no gain from a rise in entry age - keeping age differences among students constant - to make up for the shortening of length of schooling. Such an evidence that postponing school entry postpones learning is more marked for children belonging to disadvantaged households. In contrast, the relative age effect does not interact with family background, and remains stable across school entry age cohorts. The size of this effect, measured at the age 15 is not large, but its interaction with early grade retention and tracking may enhance long-term effects. Finally, we do not detect an association between birthdate and achievement originating in unobservable characteristics of students.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/80607/1/MPRA_paper_80607.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 80607.

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Date of creation: 04 Apr 2017
Date of revision: 04 Aug 2017
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:80607
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  1. 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, 04.
  2. David Deming & Susan Dynarski, 2008. "The Lengthening of Childhood," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 71-92, Summer.
  3. Elizabeth U. Cascio & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2016. "First in the Class? Age and the Education Production Function," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(3), pages 225-250, Summer.
  4. Kasey S. Buckles & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2013. "Season of Birth and Later Outcomes: Old Questions, New Answers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 711-724, July.
  5. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Too Young to Leave the Nest? The Effects of School Starting Age," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 455-467, May.
  6. Smith Justin, 2009. "Can Regression Discontinuity Help Answer an Age-Old Question in Education? The Effect of Age on Elementary and Secondary School Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-30, November.
  7. Nam, Kigon, 2014. "Until when does the effect of age on academic achievement persist? Evidence from Korean data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 106-122.
  8. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," RWI Discussion Papers 27, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
  9. Dobkin, Carlos & Ferreira, Fernando, 2010. "Do school entry laws affect educational attainment and labor market outcomes?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 40-54, February.
  10. Robertson, Erin, 2011. "The effects of quarter of birth on academic outcomes at the elementary school level," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 300-311, April.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
  15. Patrick J. McEwan & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2008. "The Benefits of Delayed Primary School Enrollment: Discontinuity Estimates Using Exact Birth Dates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  16. Datar, Ashlesha, 2006. "Does delaying kindergarten entrance give children a head start?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 43-62, February.
  17. 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).
  18. repec:zbw:rwidps:0027 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Maresa Sprietsma, 2010. "Effect of relative age in the first grade of primary school on long-term scholastic results: international comparative evidence using PISA 2003," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 1-32.
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