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CEE/Education and skills discussion paper

The Long Term Impacts of Compulsory Schooling: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in School Leaving Dates


This paper investigates a unique feature of the English educational system to estimate the causal effect of compulsory schooling on labour market outcomes. We examine school leaving rules that allow for discrete variation in exit dates by date of birth within school cohorts. This natural experiment enables a regression discontinuity design that differences out confounding factors discussed in the literature. Individuals compelled to stay in school for as little as three months longer than their classmates tend to achieve significantly higher qualification levels and experience better labour market outcomes. Our analysis of variation of impacts by age of compulsory schooling allows us to provide valuable new insights on the role of education credentials in the labour market.


Emilia Del Bono and Fernando Galindo-Rueda

January 2007     Paper Number CEEDP0074

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This CEE/Education and skills discussion paper is published under the centre's Education and skills programme, Education and skills programme.