The gift of time? School starting age and mental health

Thomas S. Dee, Hans Henrik Sievertsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
387 Downloads (Pure)


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 6 years. In a "fuzzy" regression-discontinuity design based on this rule and exact dates of birth, we find that a 1-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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-802
Number of pages22
JournalHealth Economics
Issue number5
Early online date9 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics
  • ECON CEPS Health


  • ECON Applied Economics
  • ECON CEPS Education


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