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Changes in Compulsory Schooling, Education and the Distribution of Wages in Europe


  • Giorgio Brunello
  • Margherita Fort
  • Guglielmo Weber


Using data from 12 European countries and the variation across countries and over time in the changes of minimum school leaving age, we study the effects of the quantity of education on the distribution of earnings. We find that compulsory school reforms significantly affect educational attainment, especially among individuals belonging to the lowest quantiles of the distribution of ability. There is also evidence that additional education reduces conditional wage inequality, and that education and ability are substitutes in the earnings function. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2009.

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  • 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, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:536:p:516-539

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