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The Convergence of Compulsory Schooling in Western Europe: 1950-2000

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  • Fabrice Murtin
  • Martina Viarengo

Abstract

This paper examines the expansion of compulsory schooling in fifteen Western European countries over the period 1950-2000. We show that a convergence process of mandatory years of schooling has occurred across these countries since 1950. We argue that the major driver of this phenomenon is the existence of decreasing aggregate returns to education that have limited the extension of compulsory schooling. Then we test whether convergence still holds when confronted with other explanations described in the literature, which are respectively based on technology and trade, institutions, and the budget constraint of governments. Conditional convergence does hold and we find that openness has been another robust determinant of compulsory years of schooling, reflecting the need of education in an increasingly globalized world.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0095.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0095

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

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Keywords: Economic history; education; convergence; globalization;

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  8. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2007. "Education inequalities and the Kuznets curves: a global perspective since 1870," PSE Working Papers halshs-00588085, HAL.
  9. Mark Skidmore & Hideki Toya & David Merriman, 2004. "Convergence in Government Spending: Theory and Cross-Country Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 587-620, November.
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  19. repec:pse:psecon:2007-12 is not listed on IDEAS
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  21. Landes, William M. & Solmon, Lewis C., 1972. "Compulsory Schooling Legislation: An Economic Analysis of Law and Social Change in the Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(01), pages 54-91, March.
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Cited by:
  1. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00586751 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Egger, Peter H. & Radulescu, Doina M., 2012. "Family policy and the number of children: Evidence from a natural experiment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 524-539.
  3. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2009. "The Century of Education," CEP Discussion Papers dp0934, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2010. "The Kuznets Curve of Education: A Global Perspective on Education Inequalities," CEE Discussion Papers 0116, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  5. Laura Crespo & Borja López-Nodal & Pedro Mira, 2013. "Compulsory Schooling, Education And Mental Health: New Evidence From Sharelife," Working Papers wp2013_1304, CEMFI.

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