State mandates that specify the earliest date when public schools can start instruction have become the source of perennial debates and substantial legislative effort. The arguments of mandate proponents mostly hinge on the premise that a post Labor Day school start has a causal effect on family summer vacations. This study brings quasiexperimental evidence to this question using data from the American Time Use Survey. Difference in differences estimates show a substantial decline in late summer travel among families with children when school starts before Labor Day and a smaller effect over the whole summer. Falsification tests show that the effect is unique to families with children and absent in families without.
- Labor Day
- School start