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Does Education Improve Cognitive Performance Four Decades After School Completion?

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  • Nicole Schneeweis

    ()

  • Vegard Skirbekk

    ()

  • Rudolf Winter-Ebmer

    ()

Abstract

We study the effect of secondary education on cognitive performance toward the end of working age. We exploit the exogenous variation in years of schooling arising from compulsory schooling reforms implemented in six European countries during the 1950s and 1960s. Using data of individuals, approximately age 60, from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we assess the causal effect of education on memory, fluency, numeracy, and orientation-to-date. Furthermore, we study education effects on cognitive decline. We find a positive impact of schooling on memory scores. One year of education increases the memory score approximately four decades later by about 0.2, which amounts to 10 % of a standard deviation. Furthermore, we find some evidence for a protective effect of schooling on cognitive decline in terms of verbal fluency. Copyright Population Association of America 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "Does Education Improve Cognitive Performance Four Decades After School Completion?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(2), pages 619-643, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:51:y:2014:i:2:p:619-643
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-014-0281-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Garrouste, Christelle, 2010. "100 years of educational reforms in Europe: a contextual database," MPRA Paper 31853, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Jürgen Maurer, 2011. "Education and Male-Female Differences in Later-Life Cognition: International Evidence From Latin America and the Caribbean," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(3), pages 915-930, August.
    7. 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, July.
    8. Gordo, Laura Romeu & Skirbekk, Vegard, 2013. "Skill demand and the comparative advantage of age: Jobs tasks and earnings from the 1980s to the 2000s in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 61-69.
    9. Giorgio Brunello & Daniele Fabbri & Margherita Fort, 2013. "The Causal Effect of Education on Body Mass: Evidence from Europe," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 195-223.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David Madden, 2016. "Do schooling reforms improve long-term health?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 306-306, October.
    2. Bahadır Dursun & Resul Cesur, 2016. "Transforming lives: the impact of compulsory schooling on hope and happiness," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 911-956, July.
    3. Perez-Arce, Francisco, 2017. "The effect of education on time preferences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 52-64.
    4. Osea Giuntella & Wei Han & Fabrizio Mazzonna, 2017. "Circadian Rhythms, Sleep, and Cognitive Skills: Evidence From an Unsleeping Giant," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(5), pages 1715-1742, October.
    5. Crespo, Laura & López-Noval, Borja & Mira, Pedro, 2014. "Compulsory schooling, education, depression and memory: New evidence from SHARELIFE," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 36-46.
    6. repec:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:35-47 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Kamhöfer, D.A. & Schmitz, H. & Westphal, M., 2015. "Heterogeneity in Marginal Non-monetary Returns to Higher Education," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/24, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    8. Dahmann, Sarah C., 2017. "How does education improve cognitive skills? Instructional time versus timing of instruction," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 35-47.
    9. Smith, William C. & Anderson, Emily & Salinas, Daniel & Horvatek, Renata & Baker, David P., 2015. "A meta-analysis of education effects on chronic disease: The causal dynamics of the Population Education Transition Curve," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 29-40.
    10. Smith-Greenaway, Emily, 2015. "Are literacy skills associated with young adults' health in Africa? Evidence from Malawi," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 124-133.
    11. Fischer, Martin & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Schwarz, Nina, 2017. "The long-term effects of long terms: Compulsory schooling reforms in Sweden," Ruhr Economic Papers 733, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    12. Vegard Skirbekk & Valeria Bordone & Daniela Weber, 2014. "A cross-country comparison of math achievement at teen age and cognitive performance 40 years later," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(4), pages 105-118, July.

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