DOES RAISING THE SCHOOL LEAVING AGE REDUCE TEACHER EFFORT? EVIDENCE FROM A POLICY EXPERIMENT

Authors

  • COLIN GREEN,

    1. Green: Economics Department, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YX, UK. Phone 0044 1524 92950, Fax 0044 1524 594244, E-mail c.p.green@lancaster.ac.uk
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  • MARÍA NAVARRO PANIAGUA

    1. Navarro: Economics Department, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YX, UK; FEDEA, Madrid, Spain. Phone 0044 1524 594667, Fax 0044 1524 594244, E-mail m.navarropaniagua@lancs.ac.uk
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    • The authors would like to thank Ian Walker, Alfredo Paloyo, Fernando Lozano, and seminar participants at Lancaster University, the University of Aberdeen, and the University of Cyprus for their helpful comments. The authors are also grateful to the editor Peter Arcidiacono and two anonymous referees. M.N.P. gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation Postdoctoral Grant 2008-0583, FEDEA, and the CYCIT project ECO2008-06395-C0503/ECON.


Abstract

This paper examines the effect of an increase in the compulsory school leaving age on a measure of high school teachers' effort. Differences-in-Differences estimates using count data methods demonstrate that the policy led to teachers increasing their hours of sickness absence by roughly 15%. This result implies that raising the compulsory school leaving age reduces teaching inputs, and hence schooling quality. A policy implication is that these laws should be coupled with measures to compensate teachers for the additional disutility. This also suggests that instrumental variable estimates of returns to education that utilize these changes for identification may be downwardly biased. (JEL J22, J38)

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