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The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Economics
StateAccepted/In press - 12 Dec 2017


Using linked Danish survey and register data, we estimate the causal effect of age at
kindergarten entry on mental health. Danish children are supposed to enter kindergarten in
the calendar year in which they turn six. In a "fuzzy" regression-discontinuity design based
on this rule and exact dates of birth, we find that a one-year delay in kindergarten entry
dramatically reduces inattention/hyperactivity at age 7 (effect size = -0.73), a measure of
self-regulation with strong negative links to student achievement. The effect is primarily
identified for girls, but persists at age 11.

    Research areas

  • mental health, school starting age



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