Aggregate and Intergenerational Implications of School Closures: A Quantitative Assessment

49 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2021

See all articles by Youngsoo Jang

Youngsoo Jang

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics - Institute for Advanced Research

Minchul Yum

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 2020

Abstract

A majority of governments around the world unprecedentedly closed schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper quantitatively investigates the macroeconomic and distributional consequences of school closures through intergenerational channels in the medium-and long-term. The model economy is a dynastic overlapping generations general equilibrium model in which schools, in the form of public education investments, complement parental investments in producing children’s human capital. We calibrate the stationary equilibrium of the model to the U.S. economy and compute the equilibrium responses following unexpected school closure shocks. We find that school closures have moderate long-lasting adverse effects on macroeconomic aggregates such as output. The accumulated output loss over the next century relative to the annual output, following a half-year-long closure, exceeds 5%. In addition, we find that school closures reduce intergenerational mobility, especially among older children. Finally, we find that lower substitutability between public and parental investments induces larger damages in the aggregate economy and overall lifetime incomes of the affected children while mitigating negative impacts on intergenerational mobility. In all findings, heterogeneous parental responses to school closures play a key role. Our results provide a quantitatively relevant dimension to consider for policymakers assessing potential costs of school closures.

Keywords: Intergenerational mobility, lifetime income, parental investments, aggregate loss, substitutability

JEL Classification: E24, I24, J22

Suggested Citation

Jang, Youngsoo and Yum, Minchul, Aggregate and Intergenerational Implications of School Closures: A Quantitative Assessment (November 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3857687 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3857687

Youngsoo Jang

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics - Institute for Advanced Research ( email )

No.111 Wuchuan Road, Yangpu District
Shanghai, Shanghai 200433
China

Minchul Yum (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

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