This study provides new evidence on the effect of compulsory schooling laws on educational attainment and earnings. First, we re-examine the effect of compulsory schooling laws for cohorts born between 1900 and 1964 (“older cohorts”) using newly available data that match administrative earnings records with the survey data. Second, we provide among the first evidence on cohorts born between 1977 and 1996 (“younger cohorts”). Our findings suggest that compulsory schooling laws increased the educational attainment of older cohorts, but had no economically significant effect on the educational attainment of younger cohorts. We are unable to find consistent evidence that compulsory schooling laws increased the earnings of older cohorts – a finding which adds to growing evidence that compulsory schooling laws are less beneficial than earlier studies suggest.
Figinski, T., Lloro, A. and Li, P. (2019), "New Evidence on the Effect of Compulsory Schooling Laws
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2019, This work was authored as part of Figinski’s official duties as an employee of the United States government, and is, therefore, a work of the United States government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works, which are considered to be in the public domain.