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The convergence process of compulsory schooling in Western Europe: 1950-2000

  • Fabrice Murtin

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - INSEE - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique)

  • Martina Viarengo

    (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science - LSE)

This paper examines the expansion of compulsory schooling in fifteen Western European countries over the period 1950-2000. We show that a convergence process of mandatory years of schooling has occurred across these countries since 1950. We argue that the major driver of this phenomenom is the existence of diminishing returns to education that limit the extension of compulsory schooling. Then we test whether convergence still holds when one controls for the major three alternative explanations described in the literature, which are respectively based on technology and trade, institutions, and the budget constraint of governments. Conditional convergence does hold and we find that openness, membership of the European Union, urbanization and illiteracy rates are other significant determinants of compulsory years of schooling over this period.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00588053.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00588053
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  1. Jean Luc De Meulemeester & Claude Diebolt, 2004. "The economies of education: unkept promises?," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 47(3-4), pages 303-320.
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  8. Mark Skidmore & Hideki Toya & David Merriman, 2004. "Convergence in Government Spending: Theory and Cross-Country Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 587-620, November.
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  11. Windmeijer, Frank, 2005. "A finite sample correction for the variance of linear efficient two-step GMM estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 25-51, May.
  12. Mitch, David, 1983. "The Spread of Literacy in Nineteenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 287-288, March.
  13. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2006. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions, and Great Divergence," Working Papers 2006-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  14. Claude Diebolt & Bachir El Murr, 2004. "Educational Development and Labour Markets," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 127-145, April.
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