Selective schooling has not promoted social mobility in England

(with Franz Buscha and Patrick Sturgis) IZA Discussion Paper #14640 [submitted]

Abstract: In this paper we use linked census data to assess whether an academically selective schooling system promotes social mobility, using England as a case study. Over a period of two decades, the share of pupils in academically selective schools in England declined sharply and differentially by area. Using a sample of census records matched to administrative data on selective system schooling within local areas, we exploit temporal and geographic variation to estimate the effects of the selective schooling system on absolute and relative social class mobility. Our results are precisely estimated and provide no support for the contention that the selective schooling system increased social mobility in England, whether considered in absolute or relative terms. The findings are robust to a comprehensive battery of robustness checks.

Does schooling have lasting effects on cognitive function? Evidence from compulsory schooling laws [revision requested at Demography]

Abstract: This paper assesses whether additional schooling has lasting causal effects on cognitive function and explores the role of occupation type in shaping these effects. Exploiting quasi-experimental variation from the 1972 raising of the school leaving age in England and Wales,  I find that an additional year of schooling improves working memory by one- to two-thirds of a standard deviation. However, I find limited evidence for causal effects on verbal fluency and numeric ability. Staying on at school also reduces the probability of entering a manual or routine occupation. Analyses of occupation type suggest entering cognitively intensive jobs may shape schooling's effect on cognitive function. I conclude that basic education causally improves an important component of cognitive function in older ages. 

Does the Great Gatsby Curve hold in England and Wales? (with Franz Buscha and Min Zhang) [submitted]