School Entry Cutoff Date and the Timing of Births
Using birth records in Japan, where school entry rule is strictly enforced, this paper shows that more than 1,800 births a year are shifted from one week before the school entry cutoff date to one week following the cutoff date. Because older children perform better academically than their younger peers, parents who value potential long-term academic gains over the short-term gain of childcare cost savings do exploit birth timing as a means of early childhood investment. Heterogeneous responses by parents violate the assumption of regression discontinuity design that births around the school entry cutoff dates are random.
This project is supported by a research grant from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (H22-policy-033, Principle Investigator: Kenji Shibuya and co-investigator: Hideki Hashimoto). The use of data in this paper is approved by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare under this grant. Also all analysis on the insurance claim data was conducted onsite at Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Tokyo, as a project of DPC working group under the supervision of Hideo Yasunaga and Hiromasa Horiguchi. I am especially grateful to Krishna Pendakur for extensive discussions and suggestions. I also thank Michael Anderson, Kelly Bedard, Flavio Cunha, Meltem Daysal, Stefano DellaVigna, Carlos Dobkin, Karen Eggleston, Pilar García-Gómez, Hideki Hashimoto, Toshiaki Iizuka, Fidan Ana Kurtulus, Adriana Lleras-Muney, Tomohiro Machikita, Andrew McGee, Asako Ohinata, Heather Royer, Kensuke Teshima, Takashi Unayama, and participants at Allied Social Sciences Association Meeting 2014, Erasmus University, Kansai Labor Seminar, Kyoto Summer Workshop on Applied Economics, Osaka University, Simon Fraser University, SOLE 2014, Stanford Summer Juku, Tilburg University, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, University of Tokyo, for their suggestions and comments. All errors are my own. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.