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Impact of Interupted Education on Earnings: The Educational Cost of the Chinese Cultural revolution

  • Xin Meng
  • Robert G Gregory

Impact of school interruptions on earnings through lower subsequent educational attainment and lower quality of education is investigated using the Chinese Cultural Revolution as a natural experiment. During the Cultural Revolution, most schools in China stopped normal operation for 3 to 4 years, universities stopped normal student recruitment for an even longer period. Such large scale school interruptions reduced the opportunity of the cohort to obtain university degrees. We find that individuals who did not obtain a university degree becasue of the Cultural revolution on average lost 46 per cent of their potential earnings. In addition most of the cohort experienced missed or interrupted schooling, at a given level of education and we show that this reduced earnings of degree holders of the Cultural Revolution cohort by 7.3 per cent on average. The findings in this paper also indicate that the quality of schooling affected earnings of individuals in a non-linear way, that is, only missed schooling at junior and senior high level reduced subsequent earnings and it only reduced earnings of those with degrees.

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Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers with number 40.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation:
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Handle: RePEc:mcm:cilnwp:40
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  1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521771269 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 313-36, June.
  3. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Working Papers 645, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Alan Krueger & Orley Ashenfelter, 1992. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," NBER Working Papers 4143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Empirical Strategies in Labor Economics," Working Papers 780, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. Angrist, Joshua & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Why Do World War II Veterans Earn More Than Nonveterans?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 74-97, January.
  7. Thomas Lemieux & David Card, 1998. "Education, Earnings, and the "Canadian G.I. Bill"," NBER Working Papers 6718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. J.D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens & D.B. Rubin, 1993. "Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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 935-59, July.
  11. Gregory, R. G. & Meng, Xin, 1995. "Wage Determination and Occupational Attainment in the Rural Industrial Sector of China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 353-374, December.
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