Relative Age Effect on European Adolescents' Social Network

53 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2018

See all articles by Luca Fumarco

Luca Fumarco


Stijn Baert

Ghent University; University of Antwerp; Catholic University of Louvain (UCL); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)


We contribute to the literature on relative age effects on pupils' (non-cognitive) skills formation by studying students' social network. We investigate data on European adolescents from the Health Behaviour in School Aged Children survey and use an instrumental variables approach to account for endogeneity of relative age while controlling for confounders, namely absolute age, season-of-birth, and family socio-economic status. We find robust evidence that suggests the existence of a substitution effect: the youngest students within a class e-communicate more frequently than relatively older classmates but have fewer friends and meet with them less frequently.

Keywords: relative age, adolescents, education, Europe, social network

JEL Classification: I21

Suggested Citation

Fumarco, Luca and Baert, Stijn, Relative Age Effect on European Adolescents' Social Network. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11972. Available at SSRN:

Luca Fumarco (Contact Author)


BP 304
Luxembourg City, L-2013

Stijn Baert

Ghent University ( email )

University of Antwerp ( email )

Prinsstraat 13
Antwerp, Antwerp 2000

HOME PAGE: http://

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) ( email )

Place Montesquieu, 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348

HOME PAGE: http://

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072


Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics