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Disentangling the channels from birthdate to educational attainment

Luís Martins () and Manuel Pereira ()

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: This paper uses a large multi-country database with data from the OECD PISA program to disentangle the effects of birthdate on educational performance. As far as age effects are concerned, we conclude that children are disadvantaged because they are the youngest in class (relative age effect), not because they are young per se. Our findings go against delaying mandatory school entry as a general policy, as there is no gain from a rise in entry age - keeping age differences among students constant - to make up for the shortening of length of schooling. Such an evidence that postponing school entry postpones learning is more marked for children belonging to disadvantaged households. In contrast, the relative age effect does not interact with family background, and remains stable across school entry age cohorts. The size of this effect, measured at the age 15 is not large, but its interaction with early grade retention and tracking may enhance long-term effects. Finally, we do not detect an association between birthdate and achievement originating in unobservable characteristics of students.

Keywords: birthdate and attainment; school entry age (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 I28 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-eur and nep-ure
Date: 2017-04-04, Revised 2017-08-04
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