NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Education, Cognition and Health: Evidence from a Social Experiment

Costas Meghir, Mårten Palme, Emilia Simeonova

NBER Working Paper No. 19002
Issued in April 2013
NBER Program(s):   ED   HE   LS

In this paper we examine how an education policy intervention - the introduction of a comprehensive school in Sweden that increased the number of compulsory years of schooling, affected cognitive and non-cognitive skills and long-term health. We use detailed administrative data combined with survey information to create a data set with background information, child ability and long-term adult outcomes. We show that extra education results in significant gains in skills among children, but the effects on long-term health are overall negligible. However, we demonstrate that the schooling reform had heterogeneous effects across family socio-economic backgrounds and initial skill endowments, with significant improvements in cognition and skills for lower Socio-economic status individuals and lower ability people.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19002

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