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Books Are Forever: Early Life Conditions, Education and Lifetime Income

  • Brunello, Giorgio


    (University of Padova)

  • Weber, Guglielmo


    (University of Padova)

  • Weiss, Christoph T.


    (University of Padova)

In this paper we estimate the effect of education on lifetime earnings in Europe, by distinguishing between individuals who lived in rural or urban areas during childhood and between individuals who had access to many or few books at age ten. We instrument years of education using reforms of compulsory education in nine different countries, and find that individuals in rural areas were most affected by the reforms while individuals with many books at home mostly benefited from education. Our main result is that books at home at age ten have had long-lasting beneficial effects on the individuals who were pushed by the reforms to increase their years of education.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6386.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Economic Journal
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6386
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  1. Anders Bohlmark & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variations in the Association between Current and Lifetime Income: Replication and Extension for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 879-900, October.
  2. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen & Wachter, Till von, 2005. "Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany: Evidence and Interpretation," IZA Discussion Papers 1645, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Paul J. Devereux & Robert A. Hart, 2009. "Forced to be Rich? Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Britain," Working Papers 200940, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  4. James J. Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev, 2012. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 18581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Schennach, Susanne, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 4702, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Lance Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2011. "Credit Constraints in Education," Working Papers 2011-036, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  7. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post-Secondary Schooling," NBER Working Papers 9055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bhuller, Manudeep & Mogstad, Magne & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2011. "Life-Cycle Bias and the Returns to Schooling in Current and Lifetime Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 5788, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Giorgio Brunello & Margherita Fort & Guglielmo Weber, 2009. "Changes in Compulsory Schooling, Education and the Distribution of Wages in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 516-539, 03.
  10. Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2011. "The long-lasting effects of family background: A European cross-country comparison," MEA discussion paper series 11245, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  11. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1308-1320, September.
  12. Fabrice Murtin & Martina Viarengo, 2007. "The convergence process of compulsory schooling in Western Europe: 1950-2000," PSE Working Papers halshs-00588053, HAL.
  13. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, June.
  14. Garrouste, Christelle, 2010. "100 years of educational reforms in Europe: a contextual database," MPRA Paper 31853, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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