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Forced to be Rich? Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Britain

  • Devereux, Paul J.
  • Hart, Robert A

Do students benefit from compulsory schooling? Researchers using changes in compulsory schooling laws as instruments have typically estimated very high returns to additional schooling that are greater than the corresponding OLS estimates and concluded that the group of individuals who are influenced by the law change have particularly high returns to education. That is, the Local Average Treatment Effect (LATE) is larger than the average treatment effect (ATE). However, studies of a 1947 British compulsory schooling law change that impacted about half the relevant population have also found very high instrumental variables returns to schooling (about 15%), suggesting that the ATE of schooling is also very high and higher than OLS estimates suggest. We utilize the New Earnings Survey Panel Data-set (NESPD), that has superior earnings information compared to the datasets previously used and find instrumental variable estimates that are small and much lower than OLS. In fact, there is no evidence of any positive return for women and the return for men is in the 4-7% range. These estimates provide no evidence that the ATE of schooling is very high.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6679.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6679
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  1. Devereux, Paul J. & Hart, Robert A., 2008. "Forced to Be Rich? Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 3305, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. James Banks & Richard Blundell, 2005. "Private pension arrangements and retirement in Britain," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 26(1), pages 35-53, March.
  3. Julien Grenet, 2013. "Is Extending Compulsory Schooling Alone Enough to Raise Earnings? Evidence from French and British Compulsory Schooling Laws," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(1), pages 176-210, 01.
  4. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
  5. Anderberg, Dan & Andersson, Fredrik, 2003. "Investments in human capital, wage uncertainty, and public policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1521-1537, August.
  6. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2213-2229, December.
  8. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 414-424, March.
  9. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2003. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 10066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen & Wachter, Till von, 2005. "Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany: Evidence and Interpretation," IZA Discussion Papers 1645, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. 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.
  12. David S. Lee & David Card, 2006. "Regression Discontinuity Inference with Specification Error," NBER Technical Working Papers 0322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Atsushi Inoue & Gary Solon, 2010. "Two-Sample Instrumental Variables Estimators," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 557-561, August.
  14. Damon Clark & Heather Royer, 2010. "The Effect of Education on Adult Health and Mortality: Evidence from Britain," NBER Working Papers 16013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Angrist, Joshua D & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014, November.
  20. Lindeboom, Maarten & Llena-Nozal, Ana & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2006. "Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from a Schooling Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 2516, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  23. Jorn-Steffen Pischke & Till von Wachter, 2008. "Zero returns to compulsory schooling in Germany: evidence and interpretation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19509, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  24. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1308-1320, September.
  25. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne E. Page, 2006. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 729-760, October.
  26. Manning, Alan, 2000. "Movin' on up: Interpreting the Earnings-Experience Profile," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 261-95, October.
  27. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  28. Maarten Lindeboom & Ana Llena Nozal & Bas van der Klaauw, 2006. "Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from a Schooling Reform," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-109/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  29. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment: An Application of Instrumental Variables with Moments from Two Samples," NBER Working Papers 3571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. 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, 07.
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