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Canadian Compulsory School Laws and Their Impact on Educational Attainment and Future Earnings


  • Oreopoulos, Phil


Compulsory school laws have existed in Canada for more than a hundred years, and policies to mandate further education continue to be discussed. This paper examines the impact of these laws on education attainment and on subsequent social economic outcomes for individuals compelled to stay in school. The findings indicate that mandating education substantially increased adult income and substantially decreased the likelihood of being below the low income cut-off, unemployed, and in a manual occupation. Considering possible costs incurred while attending school, these findings suggest compulsory schooling legislation was effective in generating large lifetime gains to would-be-dropouts.

Suggested Citation

  • Oreopoulos, Phil, 2005. "Canadian Compulsory School Laws and Their Impact on Educational Attainment and Future Earnings," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2005251e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  • Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2005251e

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hausman, Jerry A & Taylor, William E, 1981. "Panel Data and Unobservable Individual Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1377-1398, November.
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    3. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green, 2000. "Cohort patterns in Canadian earnings: assessing the role of skill premia in inequality trends," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 907-936, November.
    4. Joseph G. Altonji & Robert A. Shakotko, 1987. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 437-459.
    5. Bernt Bratsberg & Dek Terrell, 1998. "Experience, Tenure, and Wage Growth of Young Black and White Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(3), pages 658-682.
    6. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    7. Audrey Light & Kathleen McGarry, 1998. "Job Change Patterns And The Wages Of Young Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 276-286, May.
    8. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    9. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-176, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hungerman, Daniel M., 2014. "The effect of education on religion: Evidence from compulsory schooling laws," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 52-63.
    2. Philip DeCicca & Harry Krashinsky, 2016. "The Effect of Education on Overall Fertility," NBER Working Papers 23003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2010. "Labour Outcomes of Graduates and Dropouts of High School and Post-secondary Education: Evidence for Canadian 24- to 26-year-olds in 2005," Cahiers de recherche 1045, CIRPEE.
    4. Philip DeCicca & Harry Krashinsky, 2015. "Does Education Reduce Teen Fertility? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws," NBER Working Papers 21594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Education; training and learning; Educational attainment; Labour; Outcomes of education; Wages; salaries and other earnings;

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