The Long Term Effect of Age at School Entry on Education, Labor and Health Outcomes - Evidence from China
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This dissertation examines the long-term impact of the school starting age in China. This is the first study exploring the relevant research questions in China, and it focuses on two aspects: first, how does the school starting age causally affect the female education, their fertility decisions and infant health; second, how does it affect the educational attainment and labor market outcomes for both genders. Both chapters exploit the 1986 Compulsory Education Law of China, which has a natural threshold birth date requirement for individual’s primary school entrance. And the primary dataset used is the China Family Panel Studies. With Regression Discontinuity and Instrumental Variable approach, the first chapter finds that females who were born right after threshold date started school 0.25 years later and completes 0.47 more years of schooling. There is no significant causal effect documented for the female education on fertility decision outcomes. But infants born to the mothers who are right after the threshold have a 5-percentage-point lower probability in having low birth weight. The second chapter also applies the Regression Discontinuity method. Findings are that: for both genders, there is a 0.29 years’ discontinuity for the school starting age and a 0.55 years’ discontinuity for completed years of schooling after the threshold. However, the effect on the income and probability of employment is not significant. Results imply that starting school at a later age leads to higher educational attainment. The effect on the labor market may be offset by the working experience. Nonetheless for females, education improves their infants’ health possibly through improved health knowledge.
SubjectSchool starting age, Educational Attainment, Labor Market Outcomes, Fertility, Infant Health