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An historical analysis of the expansion of compulsory schooling in Europe after the Second World War

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  • Martina Viarengo

Abstract

From 1945 to 1975, fifteen Western European countries passed school-leaving age laws that raised the number of years of compulsory schooling for the first time after the Second World War. In order to understand the driving forces behind the increase in compulsory schooling and to explain the timing of this expansion, several areas of research have been reviewed. Economic, political economy and institutional hypotheses have been formulated to explain the passage of the legislation. The results of the estimation of the Cox proportional hazard model are in favour of the modernization theory when the overall period is considered. The ‘role of the state’ theory performs better until 1970 whereas after the Golden Age, technology and openness appear to be the most important determinants of the expansion of compulsory schooling. Surprisingly, there is no evidence of “contagion effect” in the law’s passage.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 4286.

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Length: 74 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:4286

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Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/
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Cited by:
  1. Panu Pelkonen, 2012. "Length of compulsory education and voter turnout—evidence from a staged reform," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 51-75, January.
  2. Gabriele Ballarino & Elena Meschi & Francesco Scervini, 2013. "GINI DP 83: The expansion of education in Europe in the 20th Century," GINI Discussion Papers 83, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  3. Holmlund, Helena, 2007. "A Researcher's Guide to the Swedish Compulsory School Reform," Working Paper Series 9/2007, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  4. Stephen Machin & Kjell G. Salvanes & Panu Pelkonen, 2012. "Education And Mobility," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 417-450, 04.
  5. Helena Holmlund, 2008. "A researcher's guide to the Swedish compulsory school reform," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19382, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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