How does your kindergarten classroom affect your earnings? Evidence from project star

  • Chetty R
  • Friedman J
  • Hilger N
 et al. 
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Abstract

In Project STAR, 11,571 students in Tennessee and their teachers were randomly assigned to classrooms within their schools fromkindergarten to third grade. This article evaluates the long-termimpacts of STARby linking the exper- imental data to administrative records. We first demonstrate that kindergarten test scores arehighlycorrelatedwithoutcomes suchas earnings at age 27, college attendance, home ownership, and retirement savings. We then document four sets of experimental impacts. First, students in small classes are significantly more likely to attend college and exhibit improvements on other outcomes. Class size does not have a significant effect on earnings at age 27, but this effect is imprecisely estimated. Second, students who had a more experienced teacher in kindergarten have higher earnings. Third, an analysis of variance reveals significant classroomeffectsonearnings. Studentswhowererandomlyassignedto higherqualityclassrooms ingradesK–3—asmeasuredbyclassmates’ end-of-class test scores—have higher earnings, college attendance rates, and other outcomes. Finally, theeffects of classqualityfadeout ontest scores inlatergrades, but gains innoncognitivemeasures persist. JEL Codes: I2, H52

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Authors

  • Raj Chetty

  • John N. Friedman

  • Nathaniel Hilger

  • Emmanuel Saez

  • Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

  • Danny Yagan

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