Dr. Danny Cohen Zada (pictured left) of BGU's Department of Economics is the University's first researcher to receive a prestigious grant from the Spencer Foundation.
Cohen Zada will use the grant to research “The Life Cycle Effects of School Entrance Age on Educational and Economic Outcomes."
When should children start school? Should they start at a younger age or an older age? How does this affect their subsequent educational and professional achievement? A vast amount of literature has arisen around this topic, but Cohen Zada has a unique entry point into the debate.
“Our novel identification strategy derives from the fact that while the school entry law in Israel determines a fixed cutoff date every year according to the Jewish calendar, since the Jewish lunar year is about eleven days shorter than the solar cycle, in different years this cutoff date is mechanically converted into different Gregorian cutoff dates. As a result, children who were born on the same date of the year and who are also educated in the same country have a different school entrance age for reasons unrelated to their educational strength. Rather, they simply face a different entrance cutoff date," he explains. He will conduct the research with his Ph.D. student, Itay Attar.
By taking advantage of that quirk, the researchers are in a unique position to assess the life cycle effects of entrance age on educational and economic outcomes.
The Spencer Foundation was established in 1962 by Lyle M. Spencer. Since 1971, the Foundation has made grants totaling nearly $500 million. The Foundation is intended, by Spencer's direction, to investigate ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved around the world. From the first, the Foundation has been dedicated to the belief that research is necessary to the improvement in education. The Foundation is thus committed to supporting high-quality investigation of education through its research programs and to strengthening and renewing the educational research community through its fellowship and training programs and related activities.