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Educational reform, ability and family background

Author

Listed:
  • Costas Meghir

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Yale University)

  • Mårten Palme

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Stockholm)

Abstract

In this paper we evaluate the impact of a major school reform, that took place in the 1950s in Sweden, on educational attainment and earnings. The reform, which has many common elements with reforms in other European countries including the UK, consisted of increasing compulsor schooling, imposing a national curriculum and abolishing selectionby ability into Academic and non-academic streams at the age of 12 (comprehensive school reform). Our data combines survey data with administrative sources. We find that the reform increased both the educational attainment and the earnings of children whose fathers had just complusory education. However the earnings of those with educated parents declined - possibly because of a dilution of quality at the top end of the education levels. The overall effect of the reform was however positive.

Suggested Citation

  • Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:04/10
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James Heckman, 2011. "Policies to foster human capital," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 73-137.
    2. Margo, Robert A. & Aldrich Finegan, T., 1996. "Compulsory schooling legislation and school attendance in turn-of-the century America: A 'natural experiment' approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 103-110, October.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human capital; evaluation of education reform; comprehensive schools; compulsory schooling; earnings; administrative data; differences in differences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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