Would More Compulsory Schooling Help Disadvantaged Youth?

Philip Oreopoulos

in The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226309453
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226309477 | DOI:
Would More Compulsory Schooling Help Disadvantaged Youth?

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Many states have discussed raising the school leaving age to seventeen or eighteen, almost making high school completion compulsory. This chapter uses these recent changes to the school leaving age to explore the potential for compulsory schooling to serve as an effective policy for improving current social-economic outcomes, especially for today's disadvantaged youth. The purpose is to present new evidence and discussion for considering whether to support such policies. Past studies only indicate that compulsory school laws appear to have been effective in generating adult gains for would-be dropouts many decades ago. The chapter focuses on whether recent changes and experiences have had any impact on increasing school enrollment and attainment. It estimates the subsequent impact on earnings and on other labor market outcomes for the small fraction affected by these laws. The overall results suggest that raising the school leaving age above sixteen offers significant gains to earnings and employment outcomes, on average, to students who otherwise would have left sooner.

Keywords: compulsory schooling; social-economic outcomes; disadvantaged youth; employment outcomes; labor market

Chapter.  10063 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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