Effects of Compulsory Schooling on Mortality: Evidence from Sweden

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH), 2013

Posted: 6 Dec 2013

See all articles by Martin Fischer

Martin Fischer

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Karolinska Institutet - Aging Research Centre

Martin Karlsson

University of Duisburg-Essen

Therese Nilsson

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Lund University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 1, 2013

Abstract

Theoretically, there are several reasons to expect education to have a positive effect on health and empirical research suggests that education can be an important health determinant. However, it has not yet been established whether education and health are indeed causally related, and the effects found in previous studies may be partially attributable to methodological weaknesses. Moreover, existing evidence on the education-health relationship using information of schooling reforms for identification, generally use information from fairly recent reforms implying that health outcomes are observed only over a limited time period. This paper examines the effect of education on mortality using information on a national roll-out of a reform leading to one extra year of compulsory schooling in Sweden. In 1936, the national government made a seventh school year compulsory; however, the implementation was decided at the school district level, and the reform was implemented over a period of 12 years. Taking advantage of the variation in the timing of the implementation across school districts, by using county-level proportions of reformed districts, census data and administrative mortality data, we find that the extra compulsory school year reduced mortality. In fact, the mortality reduction is discernible already before the age of 30 and then grows in magnitude until the age of 55-60.

Keywords: Returns to schooling, education reform, mortality

JEL Classification: I12, I14, I18, I21

Suggested Citation

Fischer, Martin and Karlsson, Martin and Nilsson, Therese, Effects of Compulsory Schooling on Mortality: Evidence from Sweden (August 1, 2013). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH), 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2363757

Martin Fischer (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Karolinska Institutet - Aging Research Centre ( email )

Tomtebodavägen 18A, plan 9
Solna, 171 65
Sweden

Martin Karlsson

University of Duisburg-Essen ( email )

Therese Nilsson

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Lund University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7082
S-220 07 Lund
Sweden
+46 46 222 46 43 (Phone)

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