Will I See You in September? An Economic Explanation for the Summer School Vacation
Dartmouth College Economics Working Paper No. 03-03
35 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2003
Date Written: January 2004
The September-to-June school year is not an agricultural holdover. It is a coordinating device to facilitate geographic mobility. The adoption of age-graded schools, which work best if all students start together, and the growth of worker mobility, which requires extra time and amenable weather to relocate households, produced the standard calendar. A "natural experiment" supporting this explanation is the equator. Summer vacation is a norm both north and south of it. However, American and European families on temporary assignment in the Southern Hemisphere use schools that maintain a Northern Hemisphere school year in order to facilitate relocation to their home countries.
Keywords: school year, year-round education, local government, education
JEL Classification: I2, H7, O15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation