Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Research Papers in Economics,
Stockholm University, Department of Economics

No 2013:10: Education, Cognition and Health: Evidence from a Social Experiment

Costas Meghir (), Mårten Palme () and Emilia Simeonova ()
Additional contact information
Costas Meghir: Yale University, IFS and NBER, Postal: Department of Economics, Yale University, 37 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
Mårten Palme: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Emilia Simeonova: Tufts University, Princeton University and NBER, Postal: Department of Economics, Tufts University, 8 Upper Campus Road, Medford, MA 02155

Abstract: We examine how an education policy intervention - the introduction of a comprehensive school in Sweden that increased the number of compulsory years of schooling, affected cognitive and non-cognitive skills and long-term health. We use administrative and survey data including background information, child ability and long-term adult outcomes. We show that education reform increased skills among children, but the effects on long-term health are overall negligible. We demonstrate that effects vary across socio-economic backgrounds and initial skill endowments, with significant improvements in cognition and skills for lower Socio-economic status individuals and lower ability people.

Keywords: Mortality; cognitive skills; non-cognitive skills; education reform

JEL-codes: I12; I14; I18; I21

42 pages, April 23, 2013

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