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Exploring the Impact of Interrupted Education on Earnings: The Educational Cost of the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Author

Listed:
  • Meng, Xin

    () (Australian National University)

  • Gregory, Bob

    () (Australian National University)

Abstract

During the Chinese Cultural Revolution many schools stopped normal operation for a long time, senior high schools stopped student recruitment for up to 6 years, and universities stopped recruitment for an even longer period. Such large scale school interruptions significantly reduced the opportunity for a large cohort of individuals to obtain university degrees and senior high school qualifications. More than half of this cohort who would normally attain a university degree were unable to do so. We estimate that those who did not obtain a university degree, because of the Cultural Revolution, lost an average of more than 50 percent of potential earnings. Both genders suffered reduced attainment of senior high school certificates and more than 20 per cent prematurely stopped their education process at junior high school level. However, these education responses do not appear to have translated into lower earnings. In addition, at each level of education attainment most of the cohort experienced missed or interrupted schooling. We show, however, that given the education certificate attained, the impact on earnings of these missed years of schooling or lack of normal curricula was small.

Suggested Citation

  • Meng, Xin & Gregory, Bob, 2007. "Exploring the Impact of Interrupted Education on Earnings: The Educational Cost of the Chinese Cultural Revolution," IZA Discussion Papers 2548, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2548
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Meng,Xin, 2009. "Labour Market Reform in China," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521121118, April.
    2. John Bound & David A. Jaeger, 1996. "On the Validity of Season of Birth as an Instrument in Wage Equations: A Comment on Angrist & Krueger's "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Scho," NBER Working Papers 5835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Andrea Ichino & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2004. "The Long-Run Educational Cost of World War II," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 57-86, January.
    4. Arnaud Chevalier, 2004. "Parental Education and Childs Education: A Natural Experiment," CEE Discussion Papers 0040, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    5. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    6. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne E. Page, 2006. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 729-760, October.
    7. Meng, Xin & Gregory, R G, 2002. "The Impact of Interrupted Education on Subsequent Educational Attainment: A Cost of the Chinese Cultural Revolution," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(4), pages 935-959, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yi Fan, 2017. "Does Adversity Affect Long-Term Consumption and Financial Behaviour? Evidence from China's Rustication Programme," ERES eres2017_148, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
    2. Giles, John & Park, Albert & Wang, Meiyan, 2008. "The great proletarian cultural revolution, disruptions to education, and returns to schooling in urban China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4729, The World Bank.
    3. Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel & Mutlu Yuksel, 2015. "The Long-Term Direct and External Effects of Jewish Expulsions in Nazi Germany," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 58-85, August.
    4. Li, Shi & Xing, Chunbing, 2010. "China's Higher Education Expansion and its Labor Market Consequences," IZA Discussion Papers 4974, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. repec:eee:chieco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:27-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Terry Sicular & Juan Yang, 2015. "The Returns to Schooling in Rural China: Evidence from the Cultural Revolution Education Expansion," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20152, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    7. Olga N. Shemyakina, 2011. "Labour Market, Education and Armed Conflict in Tajikistan," HiCN Working Papers 106, Households in Conflict Network.
    8. de Walque, Damien, 2004. "The long-term legacy of the Khmer Rouge period in Cambodia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3446, The World Bank.
    9. Wenshu Gao & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China, 2001-2010: Evidence from Three Waves of the China Urban Labor Survey," Monash Economics Working Papers 50-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    10. repec:taf:jocebs:v:15:y:2017:i:4:p:423-436 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Shemyakina, Olga N., 2011. "The labor market, education and armed conflict in Tajikistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5738, The World Bank.
    12. Juan Yang & Shi Li, 2011. "The impact of rustication on sent-down cohorts’ income," Frontiers of Economics in China, Springer;Higher Education Press, vol. 6(2), pages 290-310, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; earnings; Cultural Revolution; China;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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