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Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany: Evidence and Interpretation

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  • Jörn-Steffen Pischke

    (LSE)

  • Till von Wachter

    (Columbia University)

Abstract

We estimate the impact of compulsory schooling on earnings using changes in compulsory schooling laws in West Germany after World War II. Most estimates in the literature indicate returns in the range of 10% to 15%. While our research design is very similar to studies for various other countries, we find a zero return. We find no evidence that this is due to labor market institutions or the apprenticeship training system in Germany. The result might be due to the fact that the basic skills most relevant for the labor market are learned earlier in Germany than in other countries. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 90 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 592-598

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:90:y:2008:i:3:p:592-598

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  1. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2007. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence From the German Short School Years," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1216-1242, October.
  2. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  3. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Aakvik, Arild & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Vaage, Kjell, 2003. "Measuring Heterogeneity in the Returns to Education in Norway Using Educational Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 815, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
  6. Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Do Dropouts Drop Out Too Soon? International Evidence From Changes in School-Leaving Laws," NBER Working Papers 10155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Andrea Ichino & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2004. "The Long-Run Educational Cost of World War II," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 57-86, January.
  8. Oosterbeek, Hessel & Webbink, Dinand, 2007. "Wage effects of an extra year of basic vocational education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 408-419, August.
  9. Sascha BECKER & Frank SIEBERN-THOMAS, 2001. "Returns to Education in Germany: A Variable Treatment Intensity Approach," Economics Working Papers ECO2001/09, European University Institute.
  10. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," Working Papers 653, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  11. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1.
  12. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  13. David Card, 1993. "Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 4483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
  15. Powell, James L., 1984. "Least absolute deviations estimation for the censored regression model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 303-325, July.
  16. Ichino, Andrea & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1998. "Lower and Upper Bounds of Returns to Schooling: An Exercise in IV estimation with Different Instruments," CEPR Discussion Papers 2007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 2001. "How Large are Human-Capital Externalities? Evidence from Compulsory-Schooling Laws," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 9-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Do Dropouts Drop Out Too Soon? Evidence from Changes in School-Leaving Laws," Working Papers oreo-03-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  19. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
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