May 1, 2012

Birth-month effects

Empirical evidence suggests that age differences within the classroom in compulsory school have an impact on school performance, which in turn is the entrance ticket to higher education and the labor market. We find that the oldest children in class outperform their younger peers. The result is similar across gender and robust to controlling for sibling fixed effects. On longer term outcomes we find that the youngest pupils in class lag significantly behind their older peers in achieving a high school degree, are less likely to ever enroll into college, and have substantially lower earnings at age 30 years. The effects are more pronounced for boys and for less advantaged children.
That is from the paper "Left Behind by Birth Month" by Ingeborg F. Solli. Malcolm Gladwell made the same argument about hockey players in his book Outliers. [Imagine a world in which all couples schedule the birth of their kids for the last months of every year]. 

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