University of Illinois at Chicago
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Do 'Skills Beget Skills'? Evidence on the Effect of Kindergarten Entrance Age on the Evolution of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skill Gaps in Childhood

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-08-16, 00:00 authored by D Lubotsky, R Kaestner
We use exogenous variation in the skills that children have at the beginning of kindergarten to measure the extent to which “skills beget skills” in this context. Children who are relatively older when they begin kindergarten score higher on measures of cognitive and noncognitive achievement at the beginning of kindergarten. Their scores on cognitive assessments grow faster during kindergarten and first grade. However, after first grade the scores of younger entrants catch up. We find no evidence that the growth in non-cognitive measures differs between older and younger entrants. Finally, we provide evidence suggesting that schools are not the cause of the younger students’ faster growth after first grade.


Financial support was generously provided by the University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Social Science Research.


Publisher Statement

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Economics of Education Review. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Economics of Education Review. 2016. 53: 194-206. doi: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2016.04.001.


Elsevier Ltd.



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