UCL Department of Economics


Zero Returns to Non-Elite Schooling in Britain’s Elite Education System : Damon Clarke

24 May 2021, 1:30 pm–2:30 pm

birdseye view of four students studying in the library

Damon Clarke will speak at this IFS WiP Seminar.

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Delina Petiros

Abstract: What is the causal effect of schooling on subsequent labor market outcomes? This paper advances our knowledge of this question by re-examining a British compulsory schooling change that yields arguably the best approximation yet found to large-scale experimental variation in schooling. This change was introduced in 1947, when British students were tracked into either elite secondary schools (roughly 20% of the cohort) or non-elite secondary schools (the remainder). I use new data to make three contributions. First, I show that nearly all of the students affected by this compulsory schooling change attended the non-elite schools. Second, I show that the additional schooling had zero impact on a range of wide labor market outcomes include labor force participation, occupational attainment and earnings. Third, I argue that my findings can be attributed to the elite education system in which the additional schooling was provided.