Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 14/2020: A Second Chance? Labor Market Returns to Adult Education Using School Reforms

Patrick Bennett (), Richard Blundell () and Kjell Gunnar Salvanes ()
Additional contact information
Patrick Bennett: Centre for Applied Research, Norwegian School of Economics
Richard Blundell: University College London and IFS
Kjell Gunnar Salvanes: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH, Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: Roughly one third of a cohort drop out of high school across OECD countries, and developing effective tools to address prime-aged high school dropouts is a key policy question. We leverage high quality Norwegian register data, and for identification we exploit reforms enabling access to high school for adults above the age of 25. The paper finds that considerable increases in high school completion and beyond among women lead to higher earnings, increased employment, and decreased fertility. As male education remains unchanged by the reforms, later life education reduces the pre-existing gender earnings gap by a considerable fraction.

Keywords: Adult Education; Returns to Education; Fertility; Gender inequality

JEL-codes: I26; I28; J13

67 pages, August 3, 2020

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