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Does Schooling Improve Cognitive Functioning at Older Ages?

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Author Info

  • Schneeweis, Nicole

    ()
    (University of Linz)

  • Skirbekk, Vegard

    ()
    (University of Rostock)

  • Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf

    ()
    (University of Linz)

Abstract

We study the relationship between education and cognitive functioning at older ages by exploiting compulsory schooling reforms, implemented in six European countries during the 1950s and 1960s. Using data of individuals aged 50+ from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we assess the causal effect of education on old-age memory, fluency, numeracy, orientation and dementia. We find a positive impact of schooling on memory. One year of education increases the delayed memory score by about 0.3, which amounts to 16% of the standard deviation. Furthermore, for women, we find that more education reduces the risk of dementia.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6958.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Demography, 2014
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6958

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Related research

Keywords: compulsory schooling; instrumental variables; education; cognitive functioning; memory; aging; dementia;

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References

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  1. Kathleen A. Cagney & Diane S. Lauderdale, 2002. "Education, Wealth, and Cognitive Function in Later Life," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 57(2), pages P163-P172.
  2. Margherita Fort & Nicole Schneeweis & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2011. "More Schooling, More Children: Compulsory Schooling Reforms and Fertility in Europe," CHILD Working Papers wp15_11, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  3. James Banks & Fabrizio Mazzonna, 2012. "The Effect of Education on Old Age Cognitive Abilities: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(560), pages 418-448, 05.
  4. Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2012. "Does schooling improve cognitive functioning at older ages?," Economics working papers 2012-11, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  5. Torberg Falch & Sofia Sandgren, 2006. "The effect of education on cognitive ability," Working Paper Series 7306, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  6. Elizabeth U. Cascio & Ethan G. Lewis, 2006. "Schooling and the Armed Forces Qualifying Test: Evidence from School-Entry Laws," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  7. Jürgen Maurer, 2011. "Education and Male-Female Differences in Later-Life Cognition: International Evidence From Latin America and the Caribbean," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 915-930, August.
  8. Giorgio Brunello & Margherita Fort & Guglielmo Weber, 2009. "Changes in Compulsory Schooling, Education and the Distribution of Wages in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 516-539, 03.
  9. SandraE. Black & PaulJ. Devereux & KjellG. Salvanes, 2008. "Staying in the Classroom and out of the maternity ward? The effect of compulsory schooling laws on teenage births," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 1025-1054, 07.
  10. Garrouste, Christelle, 2010. "100 years of educational reforms in Europe: a contextual database," MPRA Paper 31853, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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Cited by:
  1. Schneeweis, Nicole & Skirbekk, Vegard & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2012. "Does Schooling Improve Cognitive Functioning at Older Ages?," Economics Series 293, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  2. Kamhöfer, Daniel & Schmitz, Hendrik, 2013. "Analyzing Zero Returns to Education in Germany: Heterogeneous Effects and Skill Formation," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79910, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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