Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #792

The Long-Term Effect of Age at School Entry on Competencies in Adulthood

by Katja Görlitz, Merlin Penny and Marcus Tamm

RWI, 01/2019, 28 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-920-9 DOI: 10.4419/86788920



The previous literature has shown that children who enter school at a more advanced
age outperform their younger classmates on competency tests taken between
kindergarten and Grade 10. This study analyzes whether these effects of school starting
age continue into adulthood. Based on data on math and language test scores for
adults in Germany, the identification of the long-term causal effects exploits state and
year variation in school entry regulations. The results show that there are no effects of
school starting age (SSA) on competencies in math and text comprehension. However,
the long-term SSA effect is sizable on receptive vocabulary.

JEL-Classification: I21, J21, J31

Keywords: School starting age; education; cognitive competencies; instrumental variable estimates