How does your kindergarten classroom affect your earnings? Evidence from project star

Raj Chetty*, John N. Friedman, Nathaniel Hilger, Emmanuel Saez, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Danny Yagan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

357 Scopus citations

Abstract

In Project STAR, 11,571 students in Tennessee and their teachers were randomly assigned to classrooms within their schools from kindergarten to third grade. This article evaluates the long-term impacts of STAR by linking the experimental data to administrative records. We first demonstrate that kindergarten test scores are highly correlated with outcomes such as earnings at age 27, college attendance, home ownership, and retirement savings. We then document four sets of experimental impacts. First, students in small classes are significantly more likely to attend college and exhibit improvements on other outcomes. Class size does not have a significant effect on earnings at age 27, but this effect is imprecisely estimated. Second, students who had a more experienced teacher in kindergarten have higher earnings. Third, an analysis of variance reveals significant classroom effects on earnings. Students who were randomly assigned to higher quality classrooms in grades K-3-as measured by classmates' end-of-class test scores-have higher earnings, college attendance rates, and other outcomes. Finally, the effects of class quality fade out on test scores in later grades, but gains in noncognitive measures persist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1593-1660
Number of pages68
JournalQuarterly Journal of Economics
Volume126
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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