Laws, Educational Outcomes, and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from the Full Count 1940 Census

57 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2016

See all articles by Karen Clay

Karen Clay

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeff Lingwall

Truman State University

Melvin Stephens

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 2016

Abstract

This paper uses a new dataset on state compulsory attendance, continuation school, and child labor laws with the 1940 full count Census of Population to estimate the returns to schooling for native-born white men in the 1885-1912 birth cohorts. IV estimates of returns to schooling range from 0.064 to 0.079. Quantile IV estimates show that the returns to schooling were largest for the lowest quantiles, and were generally monotonically decreasing for higher quantiles. These findings suggest that early schooling laws may have contributed to the Great Compression by increasing education levels for white men at the bottom of the distribution.

Suggested Citation

Clay, Karen B. and Lingwall, Jeff and Stephens, Melvin, Laws, Educational Outcomes, and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from the Full Count 1940 Census (November 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22855. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2876400

Karen B. Clay (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jeff Lingwall

Truman State University ( email )

100 E. Normal Street
Kirksville, MO 63501
United States

Melvin Stephens

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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