Is Early Learning Really More Productive? The Effect of School Starting Age on School and Labor Market Performance

45 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2005  

Peter Fredriksson

Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Bjorn Ockert

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation

Date Written: July 2005

Abstract

In Sweden, children typically start compulsory school the year they turn seven. Hence, individuals born just before or just after the new year, have about the same date of birth but start school at different ages. We exploit this source of exogenous variation, to identify the effects of age at school entry on test scores, grades, educational attainment and labor market performance. Using a rich data set for the entire Swedish population born 1935-84, we find that children who start school at an older age do better in school and go on to have more education than their younger peers. Children from families with weaker educational tradition have more to win from starting school later. The long-run earnings effects are positive but small. However, since starting school later entails the opportunity cost of entering the labor market later, the net earnings effect over the entire life-cycle is negative. Exploiting within-school variation in peer age composition, we find that the school starting age effect primarily is due to absolute maturity rather than to the relative age in the class.

Keywords: child education, school starting age, regression-discontinuity design

JEL Classification: J24, I21

Suggested Citation

Fredriksson, Peter and Ockert, Bjorn, Is Early Learning Really More Productive? The Effect of School Starting Age on School and Labor Market Performance (July 2005). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1659. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=760728

Peter Fredriksson (Contact Author)

Department of Economics ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Bjorn Ockert

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation ( email )

Box 513
751 20 Uppsala
Sweden

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,485
Rank
8,787
Abstract Views
8,761