School Quality and the Development of Cognitive Skills between Age Four and Six

56 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015

See all articles by Lex Borghans

Lex Borghans

Maastricht University - Department of Economics; University of Maastricht - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Bart Golsteyn

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

Ulf Zölitz

University of Zurich; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

This paper studies the extent to which young children develop their cognitive ability in high and low quality schools. We use a representative panel data set containing cognitive test scores of 4-6 year olds in Dutch schools. School quality is measured by the school's average achievement test score at age 12. Our results indicate that children in high-quality schools develop their skills substantially faster than those in low-quality schools. The results remain robust to the inclusion of initial ability, parental background, and neighborhood controls. Moreover, using proximity to higher-achieving schools as an instrument for school choice corroborates the results. The robustness of the results points toward a causal interpretation, although it is not possible to erase all doubt about unobserved confounding factors.

Keywords: cognitive skills, child development, school quality

JEL Classification: I2, I24, J24

Suggested Citation

Borghans, Lex and Golsteyn, Bart and Zölitz, Ulf, School Quality and the Development of Cognitive Skills between Age Four and Six. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9200. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2655149

Lex Borghans (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

University of Maastricht - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Bart Golsteyn

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

Ulf Zölitz

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

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