FIRST IN THE CLASS? AGE AND THE EDUCATION PRODUCTION FUNCTION

  • Cascio E
  • Cascio@ E
  • Schanzenbach D
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Abstract

We estimate the effects of relative age in kindergarten using data from an experiment where children of the same age were ran-domly assigned to different kindergarten classmates. We exploit the resulting experimental variation in relative age in conjunction with variation in expected kindergarten entry age based on birth-date to account for negative selection of some of the older school entrants. We find that, holding constant own age, having older classmates on average improves educational outcomes, increas-ing test scores up to eight years after kindergarten, and raising the probability of taking a college-entry exam. These findings sug-gest that delaying kindergarten entry, or so-called academic " red-shirting, " does not harm other children—and may in fact benefit them—consistent with positive spillovers from higher-scoring or better-behaved peers.

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Authors

  • Elizabeth U Cascio

  • Elizabeth U Cascio@

  • Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

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