'For One More Year With You': Changes in Compulsory Schooling, Education and the Distribution of Wages in Europe

61 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2007

See all articles by Giorgio Brunello

Giorgio Brunello

University of Padua - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Margherita Fort

University of Bologna; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute), Ifo Institute, Students; IZA

Guglielmo Weber

University of Padua - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Date Written: October 2007

Abstract

Using data from 12 European countries and the variation across countries and over time in the changes of minimum school leaving age, we study the effects of the quantity of education on the distribution of earnings. We find that compulsory school reforms significantly affect educational attainment, especially among individuals belonging to the lowest quantile of the distribution of ability. Contrary to previous findings in the relevant literature, we find that additional education reduces wage inequality below median income and increases it above median income. There is also evidence in our data that education and ability are complements in the production of human capital and earnings. While these results support an elitist education policy - more education to the brightest, they also suggest that investing in the less fortunate but bright could payoff both on efficiency and on equity grounds.

Keywords: education reforms, distribution of earnings, Europe

JEL Classification: J24

Suggested Citation

Brunello, Giorgio and Fort, Margherita and Weber, Guglielmo, 'For One More Year With You': Changes in Compulsory Schooling, Education and the Distribution of Wages in Europe (October 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 3102. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1028472

Giorgio Brunello

University of Padua - Department of Economics ( email )

via Del Santo 33
35121 Padova
Italy
+39 049 827 4223 (Phone)
+39 049 827 4221 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Margherita Fort (Contact Author)

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40100
Italy

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute), Ifo Institute, Students ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich
Germany

IZA ( email )

Guglielmo Weber

University of Padua - Department of Economics ( email )

via Del Santo 33
Padova, 35123
Italy
+39 049 827 4271 (Phone)
+39 049 827 4221 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
78
rank
295,721
Abstract Views
556
PlumX Metrics