The Expansion and Convergence of Compulsory Schooling in Western Europe, 1950-2000

22 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2011

See all articles by Fabrice Murtin

Fabrice Murtin

Stanford University; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Martina Viarengo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Women and Public Policy Program

Date Written: July 2011

Abstract

This paper examines the expansion of compulsory schooling in fifteen Western European countries over 1950–2000. We show that a convergence process has occurred across these countries since 1950. We argue that the major driver of this phenomenon is the existence of decreasing aggregate returns to education that have limited the extension of compulsory schooling. Then we test whether convergence holds when confronted with other explanations described in the literature. Conditional convergence does hold and we find that openness has been another significant determinant of compulsory years of schooling, reflecting the need of a skilled labour force in an increasingly globalized world.

Suggested Citation

Murtin, Fabrice and Viarengo, Martina, The Expansion and Convergence of Compulsory Schooling in Western Europe, 1950-2000 (July 2011). Economica, Vol. 78, Issue 311, pp. 501-522, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1859860 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0335.2009.00840.x

Fabrice Murtin (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Martina Viarengo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Women and Public Policy Program ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-4786 (Phone)

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