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The effect of a social experiment in education

  • Costas Meghir

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Yale University)

  • Mårten Palme

The impact of compulsory schooling laws as well as the abolition of early selection by ability reamin important issues in the educational debate. These issues were the focus of a major education reform in Sweden which was implemented in the 60s. The reform was preceded by a "social experiment" ub which only a proportion of municipalities received the new school system. We use survey data linked with tax records covering 10% of one of the cohorts, who were educated during the experimental period, to evaluate the impact of the reform on educational attainment and earnings. We find significant increases in the educational attainment of individuals from poorer backgrounds. In addition we estimate the returns to education for those affected by the reform. By exploiting the differential impact of the reform by county we are able, in some cases, to distinguish its direct effect on earnings from the effect it had by increasing the quantity of education. We find that the main source of increased earnings came from increasing educational attainment.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W01/11.

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Date of creation: May 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:01/11
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  1. Butcher, Kristin F & Case, Anne, 1994. "The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Education and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 531-63, August.
  2. David Card, 1994. "Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited," NBER Working Papers 4832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "Estimating the Payoff to Schooling Using the Vietnam-Era Draft Lottery," NBER Working Papers 4067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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