Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Does the Age at Which Children Start School Make a Difference?

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Does the Age at Which Children Start School Make a Difference?

Article excerpt

A number of journalists and academics have pondered how, if at all, the age at which children start school affects their lives. Not surprisingly, evidence suggests that many parents have posed this same question when thinking about their own children. In a March 2008 National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper entitled "Too Young to Leave the Nest, The Effects of School Starting Age," economists Sandra E. Black, Paul J. Devereux, and Kjell G. Salvanes analyze data from Norway and break new ground in answering this question.

Various studies have concluded that, on the whole, children who are older perform slightly better on exams than younger children who are in the same year in school. In the NBER analysis, however, the authors compare students of the same age by using data from an 10 test given in Norway for people around age 18. It appears that, overall, people who start school earlier perform better on the test. In other words, when studies compare students who are in the same year in school, those students who start school at an older age tend to get higher scores; however, in studies comparing students of the same age, those who start school at a younger age tend to perform better.

When young workers of the same age are compared with each other, those who start school at a younger age usually have slightly higher earnings as young adults. …

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