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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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.