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A Researchers Guide to the Swedish Compulsory School Reform

  • Helena Holmlund

When studying different types of returns to education, educational reforms are commonly used in the economics literature as a source of exogenous variation in education. The Swedish compulsory school reform is one example; the reform extended compulsory education throughout the country, in different municipalities at different points in time. Such variation across cohorts and regions can be used in a differences-in-differences framework, in order to estimate causal effects of education. This paper provides a guide to researchers who consider using the Swedish reform in an empirical analysis: I present a description and background of the reform, provide some baseline results, a reliability analysis of the reform coding, a discussion of whether the reform is a valid instrument, and comment on the interpretation ofIV estimates of returns to schooling. The main conclusions are the following: i) a reliability analysis of the reform coding finds a lower bound reliability estimate of 0.66-0.91; ii) the reform indeed raised educational attainment, more so for boys than for girls, and iii) with careful consideration of region-specific trends, the reform can be considered a valid instrument for education.

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File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp87.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0087.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0087
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/publications.htm

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  1. Alan Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," Working Papers 808, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. John Shea, 1996. "Instrument Relevance in Multivariate Linear Models: A Simple Measure," NBER Technical Working Papers 0193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Arnaud Chevalier, 2004. "Parental Education And Child's Education: A Natural Experiment," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 42, Royal Economic Society.
  4. Martina Viarengo, 2007. "An historical analysis of the expansion of compulsory schooling in Europe after the Second World War," Economic History Working Papers 4286, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  5. Maurin, Eric & McNally, Sandra, 2005. "Vive la Révolution! Long Term Returns of 1968 to the Angry Students," CEPR Discussion Papers 4940, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1999. "How Large are the Social Returns to Education? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws," NBER Working Papers 7444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Aigner, Dennis J., 1973. "Regression with a binary independent variable subject to errors of observation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 49-59, March.
  8. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Pekkala, Sari & Uusitalo, Roope, 2006. "Educational policy and intergenerational income mobility: evidence from the Finnish comprehensive school reform," Working Paper Series 2006:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  9. Ann Huff Stevens & Marianne Page & Philip Oreopoulos, 2005. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Working Papers 519, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
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