Investing in the Next Generation – Lessons from History for Economic Policy
Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM (PDT)
- Chair: Francesco Cinnirella, University of Southern Denmark, CEPR and CESifo
The Making of Social Democracy: The Economic and Electoral Consequences of Norway’s 1935 School Reform
AbstractSocial democratic governments have profoundly shaped the Nordic countries gradual reforms in education, health care, redistribution, social insurance, labor market institutions over the 20th century. As an early stage of the building of welfare state institutions before the WWII, the Social Democratic governments used human capital policies as a building block to enable further redistributive reforms and to foster support for the reform agenda. The research question we ask in this paper is how the primary school reform in 1936 - first major reform undertaken by the Social Demographic government in Norway after coming into power – affected the electoral support for the program and shaped the income distribution and equality of opportunity. The reform extended the number of hours taught in school and was rolled out over more than a decade. What made it possible to carry out these reforms? We find the reform strongly affected income and post-mandatory education and had spillover effect on the next generation including an increase in cognitive ability. Importantly, the reform also had strong electoral consequences by strongly increasing the social demographic vote share in the next generations in affected municipality.
The Intergenerational Effects of the Rosenwald Schools
AbstractWe examine the intergenerational eﬀects of the Rosenwald Schools. The Rosenwald schools represented a major improvement in school quality for African Americans living in the rural South during the 1920s. Previous research by Aaronson and Mazumder (2011) has shown that the schools led to increased educational attainment, improved literacy, higher test scores and increased migration to the North. In this paper we explore how the improvements aﬀected the children of Rosenwald students. We exploit a unique Census dataset linking individuals from the complete count 1940 Census to the 2000 Long Form Census. Our preliminary estimates show large eﬀects of parents' exposure to Rosenwald schools on their children's eventual educational attainment. These results show how a major educational intervention can have long-lasting eﬀects that persist across generations. These ﬁndings also point to the potential for important spillovers to educational policies that current cost-beneﬁt analyses ignore.
Froebel's Gifts: How the Kindergarten Movement Changed the American Family
AbstractAmerican cities experienced a dramatic increase in kindergarten attendance at the turn of the 20th century. As in modern economies, kindergarten education at that time increased young children’s skills and facilitated their entry into primary school. Using newly-collected data on the roll-out of kindergartens across American cities between 1880 and 1910, we evaluate their impact on family outcomes. We find that kindergarten exposure significantly reduced fertility of married women. This fertility decline is more pronounced for poor and immigrant households. Kindergartens also increased the returns to education by increasing schooling and English proficiency of attendees relative to individuals who were just too old to attend when the first kindergarten in a city was established. We also show that families exposed to kindergartens faced a substantial increase in the direct costs of having children as kindergarten attendees were less likely to work during their childhood. The fertility decline due to increased returns to education and higher direct costs of having children is consistent with the predictions of a quantity-quality model of fertility. Finally, our results reveal spillover effects of potential kindergarten attendees on their mothers and older siblings.
Norwegian School of Economics
University of Tennessee
- N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
- I0 - General