Does Schooling Improve Cognitive Functioning at Older Ages?

35 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2012  

Nicole E. Schneeweis

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics

Vegard Skirbekk

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Rudolf Winter-Ebmer

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics; Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) - Department of Economics & Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

We study the relationship between education and cognitive functioning at older ages by exploiting compulsory schooling reforms, implemented in six European countries during the 1950s and 1960s. Using data of individuals aged 50+ from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we assess the causal effect of education on old-age memory, fluency, numeracy, orientation and dementia. We find a positive impact of schooling on memory. One year of education increases the delayed memory score by about 0.3, which amounts to 16% of the standard deviation. Furthermore, for women, we find that more education reduces the risk of dementia.

Keywords: compulsory schooling, instrumental variables, education, cognitive functioning, memory, aging, dementia

JEL Classification: I21, J14

Suggested Citation

Schneeweis, Nicole E. and Skirbekk, Vegard and Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, Does Schooling Improve Cognitive Functioning at Older Ages?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6958. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2170646

Nicole E. Schneeweis (Contact Author)

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics ( email )

Altenbergerstrasse 69
A-4040 Linz, 4040
Austria

Vegard Skirbekk

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Rudolf Winter-Ebmer

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics ( email )

Altenbergerstrasse 69
A-4040 Linz, 4040
Austria
+43 732 2468 8236 (Phone)
+43 732 2468 8238 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.jku.at/winter

Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) - Department of Economics & Finance ( email )

Stumpergasse 56
A-1060 Vienna, A-1060
Austria

HOME PAGE: http://www.ihs.ac.at

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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