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The Aftermaths of Lowering the School Leaving Age – Effects on Roma Youth


  • János Köllő

    (HUN-REN Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, IZA)

  • Anna Sebők

    (HUN-REN Centre for Economic and Regional Studies)


In 2013, the Hungarian government cut the school leaving age from 18 to 16. We study the impact of this unique reform on the country's sizeable Roma minority using census data on the universe of 17-year-olds in 2011 and a 10 percent random sample in 2016. School attendance fell by more than 20 percentage points among Roma youth as opposed to less than 6 points with their non-Roma counterparts. Roma's post-reform drawbacks in school enrolment were predominantly explained by their family background, neighborhood characteristics, and, much less importantly, below-average school performance. Changes in local employment prospects had no remarkable impact on the post-reform ethnic gap. More stringent selection and self-selection by social status and school performance (rather than ethnicity) nevertheless affected the Roma minority disproportionally, with close to 30 percent of their 17-year-old children being out of education, training, and employment three years after the reform.

Suggested Citation

  • János Köllő & Anna Sebők, 2023. "The Aftermaths of Lowering the School Leaving Age – Effects on Roma Youth," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 2331, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:has:discpr:2331

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adamecz-Völgyi, Anna, 2021. "Is raising the school leaving age enough to decrease dropping out?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 985, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
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    More about this item


    Keywords: school leaving age; Roma; Hungary;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy

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