Long-term effects of school-starting-age rules

H. Oosterbeek, S. ter Meulen, B. van der Klaauw

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


© 2021To study the long-term effects of school-starting-age rules in a setting with early ability tracking, we exploit the birth month threshold used in the Netherlands. We find that students born just after the threshold perform better at the end of primary school than students born just before it. This translates into increased placement in high ability tracks in secondary education. This difference diminishes gradually during subsequent stages, and we find no effect on the highest attained educational level. Those born just before the threshold enter the labor market somewhat younger and have therefore more labor market experience and higher earnings at any age until 40. We conclude that early ability tracking does not harm long-term outcomes of children who were, for exogenous reasons, placed in a lower track.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102144
JournalEconomics of Education Review
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


We gratefully acknowledge valuable comments from two anonymous referees and from seminar participants in different places. The non-public micro data used in this paper are available via remote access to the Microdata services of Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Oosterbeek received support from the Research Council of Norway Toppforsk grant no. 275906. Van der Klaauw acknowledges financial support from a Vici-grant from the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO).

FundersFunder number
Research Council of Norway Toppforsk275906
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek


    Dive into the research topics of 'Long-term effects of school-starting-age rules'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this