Do School Entry Laws Affect Educational Attainment and Labor Market Outcomes?

37 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2007

See all articles by Carlos Dobkin

Carlos Dobkin

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics

Fernando V. Ferreira

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2007

Abstract

Age based school entry laws force parents and educators to consider an important tradeoff. Though students who enter school early typically have poorer academic performance, on average, they stay in school longer. The popular and academic press has focused primarily on the former effect which has lead to substantial concern and strategic behavior on the part of both parents and educators. In this paper we document that the school entry laws have a very large impact on the age at which students enroll in school and that the youngest students in a class are substantially more likely to be held back a grade. However, we also find that the youngest students in an academic cohort have slightly higher educational attainment than their older peers. To estimate the net effect of this tradeoff we examine a broad range of labor market outcomes and find that early school entry has no effect on any of them. We also document that school entry laws are a poor instrument for educational attainment in wage regressions because they affect wages by numerous causal pathways, several of which have a substantially stronger first stage relationship with the school entry laws than educational attainment does.

Keywords: Education, Returns to Education, School Entry Laws

JEL Classification: I20, J30

Suggested Citation

Dobkin, Carlos and Ferreira, Fernando V., Do School Entry Laws Affect Educational Attainment and Labor Market Outcomes? (July 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1007492 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1007492

Carlos Dobkin

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics ( email )

Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

Fernando V. Ferreira (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States
215-898-7181 (Phone)
215-573-2220 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://real.wharton.upenn.edu/~fferreir/

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