Assessing the Effect of Schooling on Earnings Using a Social Experiment
The implementation of the 1950 Swedish comprehensive school reform was preceded by a unique social experiment. During this experiment between 1949 and 1962 the new school system was implemented in stages. This allows us to study the same cohort of individuals going through two different school systems, one of them implying at least one year of prolonged compulsory schooling, in a very similar environment. We use this unique source of exogenous variation in educational outcomes to evaluate the impact of education on earnings. We find evidence that the reform had a very strong impact on educational achievement at the lower end. However, we show that the impact of the reform went beyond shifting people from the old compulsory level to the new one, affecting attendance at higher levels. We then proceed to estimate the impact of the reform on earnings later in life and to calculate the returns to various qualifications. For this purpose we use the variation in educational achievements, induced by the social experiment. We compare the results from this quasi-experimental approach to those obtained when we use simple OLS and when we use OLS but controlling for a set of detailed ability indicators collected before the reform was effective. Our findings show that while ability bias may be present, using observed ability indicators gives very similar (but more precise) results to those obtained by using the variation induced by the implementation of the social experiment. We also find very strong evidence that the returns to education vary with ability, the effect being stronger the higher the level of education.
|Date of creation:||01 Aug 2000|
|Contact details of provider:|| Phone: 1 212 998 3820|
Fax: 1 212 995 4487
Web page: http://www.econometricsociety.org/pastmeetings.asp
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:0670. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.