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Learning Intensity Effects in Students' Mental and Physical Health - Evidence from a Large Scale Natural Experiment in Germany

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  • Hofmann, Sarah
  • Mühlenweg, Andrea

Abstract

In this study, we analyze health effects of a recent education reform in Germany exposing students to increased schooling intensity. The reform shortened the higher secondary education track by one year. As the overall curriculum required for graduation was held constant, this led to an increase in instruction hours in the remaining school years. The reform has been introduced at different points in time across federal states, providing us with a difference-in-difference setup for analysis. Based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), our results imply that the reform significantly reduced adolescents' self-rated mental health status. The overall effect on the mental component summary score (MCS) is about a quarter of a standard deviation. Examining MCS sub-dimensions, we find detrimental effects of the reform on vitality and on emotional balance. We also observe significant impacts on self-assessed general physical health.

Suggested Citation

  • Hofmann, Sarah & Mühlenweg, Andrea, 2017. "Learning Intensity Effects in Students' Mental and Physical Health - Evidence from a Large Scale Natural Experiment in Germany," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-622, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  • Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-622
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    2. Marcus, Jan & Reif, Simon & Wuppermann, Amelie & Rouche, Amélie, 2020. "Increased instruction time and stress-related health problems among school children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    3. Oreopoulos, Philip & Petronijevic, Uros & Logel, Christine & Beattie, Graham, 2020. "Improving non-academic student outcomes using online and text-message coaching," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 342-360.
    4. Daniel Graeber & Felicitas Schikora, 2021. "Hate is too great a burden to bear: Hate crimes and the mental health of refugees," CEPA Discussion Papers 31, Center for Economic Policy Analysis.
    5. Daniel Graeber & Felicitas Schikora, 2021. "Hate Is Too Great a Burden to Bear: Hate Crimes and the Mental Health of Refugees," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1130, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Dirk Bethmann & Robert Rudolf, 2021. "The paradox of wealthy nations' unhappy adolescents," Discussion Paper Series 2101, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
    7. Bryan, M.; & Roberts, J.; & Sechel, C.;, 2019. "The Effect of Mental Health on Employment:Accounting for Selection Bias," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 19/14, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    8. Kronenberg, Christoph, 2020. "New(spaper) Evidence of a Reduction in Suicide Mentions during the 19th‐century US Gold Rush," CINCH Working Paper Series (since 2020) 73382, Duisburg-Essen University Library, DuEPublico.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Adolescent health; schooling intensity; school reform; natural experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education

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