Education, Cognition and Health: Evidence from a Social Experiment
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.
Financial support from the IFAU is gratefully acknowledged. Costas Meghir thanks the ISPSS and the Cowles foundation for financial assistance. The usual disclaimer applies. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.