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Education on the cheap: The long-run effects of a free compulsory education reform in rural china

Yun Xiao, Li Li and Liqiu Zhao

Journal of Comparative Economics, 2017, vol. 45, issue 3, 544-562

Abstract: This paper evaluates the long-run effects of a free compulsory education reform in rural China on individuals’ educational attainment, cognitive achievement and health. We exploit the cross-province variation in the roll-out of the reform and apply a difference-in-differences strategy to identify the causal effects of the reform on the outcomes. We find that the reform exposure, measured by the number of semesters that an individual is supposed to be exposed to the free compulsory education, is positively associated with individuals’ educational attainment and cognitive achievement measured by math test scores in early adulthood. The reform effects on educational attainment become greater in the longer term. Moreover, the reform effect on educational attainment is stronger for individuals with less-educated fathers.

Keywords: Free compulsory education reform; Human capital; Long-run effects; Rural China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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