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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(8), 3596-3618; doi:10.3390/ijerph10083596

Effects of Compulsory Schooling on Mortality: Evidence from Sweden

1,* , 2
1 Ruhr Graduate School in Economics (RGS Econ), University of Duisburg-Essen, Schützenbahn 70,Essen 45127, Germany 2 Chair of Health Economics, University of Duisburg-Essen, Schützenbahn 70, Essen 45127, Germany 3 Department of Economics and Centre for Economic Demography (CED), Lund University, Lund 22007, Sweden 4 Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Stockholm 10215, Sweden
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 June 2013 / Accepted: 2 August 2013 / Published: 13 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inequalities in Health)
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Theoretically, there are several reasons to expect education to have a positive effect on health. 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 generally uses information of fairly recent schooling 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 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 returns to schooling; education reform; mortality
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Fischer, M.; Karlsson, M.; Nilsson, T. Effects of Compulsory Schooling on Mortality: Evidence from Sweden. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 3596-3618.

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