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

Lex Borghans, Bart Golsteyn () and Ulf Zölitz

No 9200, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

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: child development; cognitive skills; school quality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I2 I24 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 56 pages
Date: 2015-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-lma, nep-neu and nep-ure
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Published in: PLOS ONE, 2015, 10(7)

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