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The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany

  • Michael Fertig

    ()

  • Jochen Kluve

    ()

Determining the optimal age at which a child should enter school is a controversial topic in education policy. In particular, German policy makers, pedagogues, parents, and teachers have since long discussed whether the traditional, established age of school entry at 6 years remains appropriate. Policies of encouraging early school entry or increased consideration of a particular child’s competency for school (“Schulfähigkeit”) have been suggested. Using a dataset capturing children who entered school in the late 1960s through the late 1970s, a time when delaying enrolment was common, we investigate the effect of age at school entry on educational attainment forWest and East Germany. Empirical results from linear probability models and matching suggest a qualitatively negative relation between the age at school entry and educational outcomes both in terms of schooling degree and probability of having to repeat a grade. These findings are likely driven by unobserved ability differences between early and late entrants.We therefore use a cut-off date rule and the corresponding age at school entry according to the regulation to instrument the actual age at school entry.The IV estimates suggest there is no effect of age at school entry on educational performance.

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File URL: http://repec.rwi-essen.de/files/DP_05_027.pdf
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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung in its series RWI Discussion Papers with number 0027.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:dpaper:0027
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  1. James J. Heckman, 1999. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 7288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
  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. Fredriksson, Peter & Öckert, Björn, 2006. "Is early learning really more productive? The effect of school starting age on school and labor market performance," Working Paper Series 2006:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  5. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
  6. Del Bono, Emilia & Galindo-Rueda, Fernando, 2004. "Do a Few Months of Compulsory Schooling Matter? The Education and Labour Market Impact of School Leaving Rules," IZA Discussion Papers 1233, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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