Aug 30, 2017
RAND Europe investigated the economic implications of later school start times in the U.S. through an innovative economic analysis (in 47 U.S. states) of a state-wide universal shift to 8:30 a.m. Using a novel macroeconomic modelling approach, the benefit-cost projections in the study suggested that delaying school start times is a cost-effective policy change, which could have a significant impact on public health and the U.S. economy.
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Numerous studies have shown that later school start times are associated with positive student outcomes, including improvements in academic performance, mental and physical health, and public safety. While the benefits are well-documented in the literature, there is opposition against delaying school times across the U.S. A major argument is the claim that delaying school start times will result in significant additional costs due to changes in transportation, such as rescheduling bus routes. This study investigates the economic implications of later school start times by examining a policy experiment and its subsequent state-wide economic effects of a state-wide universal shift in school start times to 8:30 a.m.
Using a novel macroeconomic modelling approach, the study estimates changes in the economic performance of 47 U.S. states following a delayed school start time, which includes the benefits of higher academic performance of students and reduced car crash rates. The benefit-cost projections of this study suggest that delaying school start times is a cost-effective, population-level strategy which could have a significant impact on public health and the U.S. economy. From a policy perspective, the study's findings demonstrate the significant economic gains resulting from the delay in school start times over a relatively short period of time following the adoption of the policy change.
The economic implications of later school start times
Summary and discussion
The overlapping generations model
Derivation of educational attainment data
Net increase in sleep length
Benefit-cost ratios per student ("Very High" cost scenario)