Project in detail

The Effect of Education on Old Age Cognitive Abilities

Members of this project:



In this proejct, we exploit the 1947 change to the minimum school-leaving age in England from 14 to 15, to evaluate the causal effect of a year of education on cognitive abilities at older ages. We use a regression discontinuity design analysis and find a large and significant effect of the reform on males’ memory and executive functioning at older ages, using simple cognitive tests from the English Longitudinal Survey on Ageing (ELSA) as our outcome measures. This result is particularly remarkable since the reform had a powerful and immediate effect on about half the population of 14-year-olds. We investigate and discuss the potential channels by which this reform may have had its effects, as well as carrying out a full set of sensitivity analyses and robustness checks. This project is a cooperation with James Banks at the University of Manchester. Results from this project have been published in the Economic Journal.

Publications arisen from this project:
  • Mazzonna, Fabrizio; Peracchi, Franco (2012): Ageing, cognitive abilities, and retirement, European Economic Review, 56, 4, 691-710
  • Jürges, Hendrik; Kruk, Eberhard; Reinhold, Steffen (2012): The Effect of Compulsory Schooling on Health - Evidence from Biomarkers, Journal of Population Economics, 26, 2, 645-672

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