Education and Mortality: Evidence from Historical Compulsory Schooling Laws in Canada

Shuang Zhang, University of Colorado, Boulder
Grant Miller, Stanford University and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Christina Gathmann, University of Mannheim
Ying Cao, University of Guelph
Jiayuan Teng, University of Guelph

This study uses abrupt, unexpected changes in Canada’s compulsory schooling laws in the early 20th Century to estimate the relationship between schooling and age-specific mortality throughout the life course. We find that a law that required students to stay in school until age 15 increased years of schooling by 2.2 years. The extra schooling induced by these compulsory education laws significantly reduced mortality rates over age 50, for both men and women. We also use a novel approach to distinguish the importance of economic and non-economic channels through which education may improve survival.

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Presented in Session 106: Health, Migration, Race, and Education