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A Researchers Guide to the Swedish Compulsory School Reform

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  • Helena Holmlund

Abstract

When studying different types of returns to education, educational reforms are commonly used in the economics literature as a source of exogenous variation in education. The Swedish compulsory school reform is one example; the reform extended compulsory education throughout the country, in different municipalities at different points in time. Such variation across cohorts and regions can be used in a differences-in-differences framework, in order to estimate causal effects of education. This paper provides a guide to researchers who consider using the Swedish reform in an empirical analysis: I present a description and background of the reform, provide some baseline results, a reliability analysis of the reform coding, a discussion of whether the reform is a valid instrument, and comment on the interpretation ofIV estimates of returns to schooling. The main conclusions are the following: i) a reliability analysis of the reform coding finds a lower bound reliability estimate of 0.66-0.91; ii) the reform indeed raised educational attainment, more so for boys than for girls, and iii) with careful consideration of region-specific trends, the reform can be considered a valid instrument for education.

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File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp87.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0087.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0087

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Web page: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/publications.htm

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Keywords: educational reform; instrumental variables;

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References

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  1. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne E. Page, 2006. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 729-760, October.
  2. Martina Viarengo, 2007. "An historical analysis of the expansion of compulsory schooling in Europe after the Second World War," Economic History Working Papers 4286, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  3. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2004. "Parental Education and Child's Education: A Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 1153, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1999. "How Large are the Social Returns to Education? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws," Working papers 99-30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Pekkala, Sari & Uusitalo, Roope, 2006. "Educational policy and intergenerational income mobility: evidence from the Finnish comprehensive school reform," Working Paper Series 2006:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  6. Eric Maurin & Sandra McNally, 2005. "Vive la revolution! Long term returns of 1968 to the angry students," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3656, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Alan Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," Working Papers 808, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. John Shea, 1997. "Instrument Relevance in Multivariate Linear Models: A Simple Measure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 348-352, May.
  9. Aigner, Dennis J., 1973. "Regression with a binary independent variable subject to errors of observation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 49-59, March.
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