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Learning intensity effects in students’ mental and physical health – Evidence from a large scale natural experiment in Germany

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  • Hofmann, Sarah
  • Mühlenweg, Andrea

Abstract

In this study, we analyze the health effects of a recent education reform in Germany exposing students to increased learning intensity. The reform shortened the higher secondary education track by one year. As the overall curriculum required for graduation was held constant, this led to an increase in instruction hours in the remaining school years. The reform was introduced at different points in time across federal states, providing us with a difference-in-difference setup for analysis. Based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), our results imply that the reform significantly reduced adolescents’ self-rated mental health status. The overall effect on the Mental Component Summary Score (MCS) is about a quarter of a standard deviation. Examining MCS sub-dimensions, we find detrimental effects of the reform on vitality and on emotional balance. We do not observe a significant reform effect on the aggregated physical health measure.

Suggested Citation

  • Hofmann, Sarah & Mühlenweg, Andrea, 2018. "Learning intensity effects in students’ mental and physical health – Evidence from a large scale natural experiment in Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 216-234.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:216-234
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2018.10.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Beulmann, Matthias, 2019. "Are they coming for us? Industrial robots and the mental health of workers," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 379, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    2. Jan Marcus & Simon Reif & Amelie C. Wuppermann & Amélie Rouche, 2019. "Increased instruction time and stress-related health problems among school children," CESifo Working Paper Series 7648, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Bryan, M.; & Roberts, J.; & Sechel, C.;, 2019. "The Effect of Mental Health on Employment:Accounting for Selection Bias," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 19/14, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education

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