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Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany: Evidence and Interpretation

  • Jörn-Steffen Pischke
  • Till von Wachter

We estimate the impact of compulsory schooling on earnings using changes in compulsory schooling laws in West Germany after World War II. Most estimates in the literature indicate returns in the range of 10% to 15%. While our research design is very similar to studies for various other countries, we find a zero return. We find no evidence that this is due to labor market institutions or the apprenticeship training system in Germany. The result might be due to the fact that the basic skills most relevant for the labor market are learned earlier in Germany than in other countries. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0054.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0054
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  1. Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 2003. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence from the German Short School Year," NBER Working Papers 9964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Powell, James L., 1984. "Least absolute deviations estimation for the censored regression model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 303-325, July.
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  8. Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2005. "The Relationship Between Education and Adult Mortality in the United States," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 189-221.
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  10. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 2001. "How Large are Human-Capital Externalities? Evidence from Compulsory-Schooling Laws," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 9-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Aakvik, Arild & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Vaage, Kjell, 2003. "Measuring Heterogeneity in the Returns to Education in Norway Using Educational Reforms," Working Papers in Economics 08/03, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  14. David Card, 1993. "Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 4483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  18. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  19. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  20. Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Do Dropouts Drop Out Too Soon? International Evidence From Changes in School-Leaving Laws," NBER Working Papers 10155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Ichino, Andrea & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1998. "Lower and Upper Bounds of Returns to Schooling: An Exercise in IV estimation with Different Instruments," CEPR Discussion Papers 2007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Do Dropouts Drop Out Too Soon? Evidence from Changes in School-Leaving Laws," Working Papers oreo-03-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  23. Milligan, Kevin & Moretti, Enrico & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2004. "Does education improve citizenship? Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1667-1695, August.
  24. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
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