IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

“For One More Year with You”: Changes in Compulsory Schooling, Education and the Distribution of Wages in Europe

  • Brunello, Giorgio


    (University of Padova)

  • Fort, Margherita


    (University of Bologna)

  • Weber, Guglielmo


    (University of Padova)

Using data from 12 European countries and the variation across countries and over time in the changes of minimum school leaving age, we study the effects of the quantity of education on the distribution of earnings. We find that compulsory school reforms significantly affect educational attainment, especially among individuals belonging to the lowest quantiles of the distribution of ability. There is also evidence that additional education reduces conditional wage inequality, and that education and ability are substitutes in the earnings function. These results do not support an elitist public education policy - more education to the brightest - and suggest that investing in the less fortunate, either because of poor labour market fortune or because of poor talent, could pay off both on efficiency and on equity grounds.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3102.

in new window

Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Changes in Compulsory Schooling, Education and the Distribution of Wages in Europe' in: Economic Journal, 2009, 119 (536), 516 - 539
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3102
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Alberto Abadie & Joshua Angrist & Guido Imbens, 2002. "Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Effect of Subsidized Training on the Quantiles of Trainee Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 91-117, January.
  2. Kevin Denny & Vincent O'Sullivan, 2004. "Can education compensate for low ability? Evidence from British data," IFS Working Papers W04/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Chesher, Andrew, 2007. "Instrumental values," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 15-34, July.
  4. Jörn-Steffen Pischke & Till von Wachter, 2008. "Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany: Evidence and Interpretation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 592-598, August.
  5. Michael Fertig & Jochen Kluve, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," RWI Discussion Papers 0027, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
  6. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," NBER Working Papers 3572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kevin Denny & Colm Harmon, 2000. "Education policy reform and the return to schooling from instrumental variables," IFS Working Papers W00/06, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Hornstein, Andreas & Krusell, Per & Violante, Giovanni L, 2006. "Frictional Wage Dispersion in Search Models: A Quantitative Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 5935, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Plug, Erik J. S., 2001. "Season of birth, schooling and earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 641-660, October.
  10. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2003. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence from the German Short School Years," IZA Discussion Papers 874, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Andrew Chesher, 2001. "Exogenous impact and conditional quantile functions," Econometrics 0108001, EconWPA.
  12. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 414-424, March.
  13. Andrew Chesher, 2003. "Identification in Nonseparable Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1405-1441, 09.
  14. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  15. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  16. Andrew Chesher, 2005. "Nonparametric Identification under Discrete Variation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1525-1550, 09.
  17. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Pekkarinen, Tuomas, 2005. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: Evidence on the Role of the Tracking Age from a Finnish Quasi-Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 1897, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. David Card, 2000. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," NBER Working Papers 7769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
  21. Victor Chernozhukov & Christian Hansen, 2005. "An IV Model of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 245-261, 01.
  22. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," RWI Discussion Papers 27, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI).
  24. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-55, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3102. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.