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Vive la Revolution! Long term returns of 1968 to the angry students

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  • Eric Maurin
  • Sandra McNally

Abstract

The student revolt of May 1968 led to chaos across France, temporarily shaking the economic and political establishment. The crisis was unanticipated, unpredictable and short-lived. The famous events coincided with the period in which examinations are undertaken. In the university context, exams became a central aspect of the bargaining process between students and the authorities with the former successfully bargaining for ‘light-touch’ exams ‘to avoid harming students who have spent a lot of time struggling for a better university’. The general chaos and student lobbying led to the abandonment of normal exam procedures throughout the higher education system. For example, the important examination taken for the baccalauréat (success at which guarantees entry to university) only involved oral tests. As a result, the pass rate for various qualifications increased enormously in that one year. We show that the lowering of thresholds had important consequences for students at an early (and highly selective) stage of the higher education system. The events enabled a significant proportion of students born between 1947 and 1950 (particularly in 1948 and 1949) to pursue more years of higher education than would otherwise have been possible. We compare outcomes for cohorts affected by the relaxation of the examinations with cohorts that were too young or too old at this time. There is a wage premium of 2-3 per cent for the most affected cohorts and an increased probability of achieving a high-status occupational position. We also show that persons from a middle-class family background were more likely to be among the ‘marginal students’, and hence those for whom the effects of easier examinations are particularly evident. Finally, we show that returns were transmitted to the next generation on account of the relationship between parental education and that of their children. One can use these ‘1968 events’ as a ‘natural experiment’ to identify the causal effect of higher ed
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Suggested Citation

  • Eric Maurin & Sandra McNally, 2005. "Vive la Revolution! Long term returns of 1968 to the angry students," CEE Discussion Papers 0049, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0049
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    File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp49.pdf
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    1. Blanden, Jo & Goodman, Alissa & Gregg, Paul & Machin, Stephen, 2002. "Changes in intergenerational mobility in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19507, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Lorraine Dearden, 1999. "Qualifications and earnings in Britain: how reliable are conventional OLS estimates of the returns to education?," IFS Working Papers W99/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 437-449, March.
    4. Arnaud Chevalier, 2004. "Parental education and child’s education : a natural experiment," Working Papers 200414, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    5. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arnaud Chevalier & Colm Harmon & Vincent O’ Sullivan & Ian Walker, 2013. "The impact of parental income and education on the schooling of their children," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-22, December.
    2. Marc Piopiunik, 2011. "Microeconometric Analyses of Education Production in Germany," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 40, November.
    3. Arnaud Chevalier & Colm Harmon & Vincent O'Sullivan & Ian Walker, 2011. "The Impact of Parental Earnings and Education on the Schooling of Children," Working Papers 201112, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    4. Verdugo, Gregory, 2014. "The great compression of the French wage structure, 1969–2008," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 131-144.
    5. Holmlund, Helena, 2007. "A Researcher's Guide to the Swedish Compulsory School Reform," Working Paper Series 9/2007, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    6. Holmlund, Helena & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2010. "The Causal Eff ect of Parent’s Schooling on Children’s Schooling," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2010:8, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    7. Luca Stella, 2013. "Intergenerational transmission of human capital in Europe: evidence from SHARE," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-24, December.
    8. Richard Mussa, 2015. "Youth wage employment and parental education in Malawi," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(4), pages 526-537, July.
    9. Helena Holmlund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Parents' Schooling on Children's Schooling: A Comparison of Estimation Methods," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 615-651, September.
    10. Amin, Vikesh & Lundborg, Petter & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2015. "The intergenerational transmission of schooling: Are mothers really less important than fathers?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 100-117.
    11. Suhonen, Tuomo & Karhunen, Hannu, 2017. "The intergenerational effects of parental higher education: Evidence from changes in university accessibility," Working Papers 100, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    12. Lundborg, Petter & Nordin, Martin & Rooth, Dan Olof, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital. The Role of Skills and Health," Working Papers 2012:22, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    13. Enkelejda Havari & Marco Savegnago, 2013. "The causal effect of parents� schooling on children�s schooling in Europe. A new IV approach," Working Papers 2013:30, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    14. Marc Piopiunik, 2011. "Intergenerational Transmission of Education and Mediating Channels: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Reforms in Germany," ifo Working Paper Series 107, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    15. JAMES, Jonathan & VUJIC, Suncica, 2016. "From high school to the high chair: Education and fertility timing," Working Papers 2016005, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
    16. Stéphane Mechoulan & François-Charles Wolff, 2015. "Intra-household allocation of family resources and birth order: evidence from France using siblings data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 937-964, October.
    17. repec:bla:econom:v:84:y:2017:i:336:p:748-778 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Monique de Haan, 2011. "The Effect of Parents' Schooling on Child's Schooling: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 859-892.

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    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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