The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment: An Application of Instrumental Variables with Moments from Two Samples

37 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2004

See all articles by Joshua D. Angrist

Joshua D. Angrist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Alan B. Krueger

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: December 1990

Abstract

This paper tests the hypothesis that compulsory school attendance laws, which typically require school attendance until a specified birthday, induce a relationship between the years of schooling and age at school entry. Variation in school start age created by children's date of birth provides a natural experiment for estimation of the effect of age at school entry. Because no large data set contains information on both age at school entry and educational attainment, we use an Instrumental Variables (IV) estimator with data derived from the 1960 and 1980 Censuses to test the age-at-entry/compulsory schooling model. In most IV applications, the two covariance matrices that form the estimator are constructed from the same sample. We use a method of moments framework to discuss IV estimators that combine moments from different data sets. In our application, quarter of birth dummies are the instrumental variables used to link the 1960 Census, from which age at school entry can be derived for one cohort of students, to the 1980 Census, which contains educational attainment for the same cohort of students. The results suggest that roughly 10 percent of students were constrained to stay in school by compulsory schooling laws.

Suggested Citation

Angrist, Joshua and Krueger, Alan B., The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment: An Application of Instrumental Variables with Moments from Two Samples (December 1990). NBER Working Paper No. w3571. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=226831

Joshua Angrist (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Alan B. Krueger

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4046 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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