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The Effect of Schooling on Cognitive Skills
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Economics and Statistics. (Linnaeus University Centre for Labour Market and Discrimination Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5620-4745
University of California at San Diego.
Uppsala universitet.
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Economics and Statistics. (Linnaeus University Centre for Labour Market and Discrimination Studies)
2013 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

How schooling affects cognitive skills is a fundamental question forstudies of human capital and labor markets. While scores on cognitive ability testsare positively associated with schooling, it has proven difficult to ascertain whetherthis relationship is causal. Moreover, the effect of schooling is difficult to separate from the confounding factors of age at test date, relative age within a classroom, season of birth, and cohort effects. In this paper, we use a fundamentally different identification approach compared to the previous literature. We exploit conditionally random variation in the assigned test date for a battery of cognitive tests which almost all 18 year-old males were required to take in preparation for military servicein Sweden. Both age at test date and number of days spent in school vary randomly across individuals after flexibly controlling for date of birth, parish, and expected graduation date (the three variables the military conditioned on when assigningtest date). We find an extra 10 days of school instruction raises cognitive scoreson crystallized intelligence tests (synonym and technical comprehension tests) by approximately one percent of a standard deviation, whereas extra nonschool dayshave almost no effect. The benefit of additional school days is homogeneous, with similar effect sizes based on past grades in school, parental education, and father’s earnings. In contrast, test scores on fluid intelligence tests (spatial and logic tests) do not increase with additional days of schooling, but do increase modestly with age. We discuss the importance of these findings for questions about the malleability of cognitive skills in young adults, schooling models of signaling versus human capital ,the interpretation of test scores in wage regressions, and policies related to the length of the school year

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linnéuniversitetet , 2013. , 41 p.
Series
Working paper series / Linnaeus University Centre for Labour Market and Discrimination Studies, 2013:4
National Category
Work Sciences
Research subject
Economy, Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-31019OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-31019DiVA: diva2:676804
Available from: 2013-12-06 Created: 2013-12-06 Last updated: 2016-11-24Bibliographically approved

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Carlsson, MagnusRooth, Dan-Olof
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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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Language
  • de-DE
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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