Working Paper No. 992

Effects of Compulsory Schooling on Mortality: Evidence from Sweden

Published: December 3, 2013Pages: 29Keywords: Returns to schooling; Education Reform; MortalityJEL-codes: I12; I18; I21
Published version

Effects of Compulsory Schooling on Mortality: Evidence from Sweden Martin Fischer, Martin Karlsson and Therese Nilsson

Theoretically, there are several reasons to expect education to have a positive effect on health and empirical research suggests that education can be an important health determinant. However, it has not yet been established whether education and health are indeed causally related, and the effects found in previous studies may be partially attributable to methodological weaknesses. Moreover, existing evidence on the education-health relationship using information of schooling reforms for identification, generally use information from fairly recent reforms implying that health outcomes are observed only over a limited time period.

This paper examines the effect of education on mortality using information on a national roll-out of a reform leading to one extra year of compulsory schooling in Sweden. In 1936, the national government made a seventh school year compulsory; however, the implementation was decided at the school district level, and the reform was implemented over a period of 12 years. Taking advantage of the variation in the timing of the implementation across school districts, by using county-level proportions of reformed districts, census data and administrative mortality data, we find that the extra compulsory school year reduced mortality. In fact, the mortality reduction is discernible already before the age of 30 and then grows in magnitude until the age of 55–60.

Therese Nilsson


Ph: +46 46 222 4643
Mob: +46 73 396 7919

Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health

Sick of Inequality.jpg

In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?


Seminars organized by IFN


To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

Academically oriented seminars are most of the time held on Wednesdays at 10 am. At these events researchers from IFN and other institutions present their research.

In addition, IFN organizes seminars open to the public. Topics for these are derived from the IFN research.

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 |