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How the Time of Day Affects Productivity: Evidence from School Schedules

Nolan Pope

The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2016, vol. 98, issue 1, 1-11

Abstract: Increasing the efficiency of the school system is a primary focus of policymakers. I analyze how the time of day affects students’ productivity and if efficiency gains can be obtained by rearranging the order of tasks they perform throughout the school day. Using a panel data set of nearly 2 million sixth- through eleventh-grade students in Los Angeles County, I perform within-teacher, class type, and student estimation of the time-of-day effect on students’ learning as measured by GPA and state test scores. I find that given a school start time, students learn more in the morning than later in the school day. Having a morning instead of afternoon math or English class increases a student’s GPA by 0.072 (0.006) and 0.032 (0.006), respectively. A morning math class increases state test scores by an amount equivalent to increasing teacher quality by one-fourth standard deviation or half of the gender gap. Rearranging school schedules can lead to increased academic performance.

JEL-codes: I20 J22 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (17)

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The Review of Economics and Statistics is currently edited by Pierre Azoulay, Olivier Coibion, Will Dobbie, Raymond Fisman, Benjamin R. Handel, Brian A. Jacob, Kareen Rozen, Xiaoxia Shi, Tavneet Suri and Yi Xu

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