The causal effect of schooling on social mobility: findings from a natural experiment

Franz Buscha, University of Westminster and Patrick Sturgis, University of Southampton

[Project number 30139]

This project aims to examine the impact that the 1972 education reform had on occupational outcomes. Everybody born after the 1st September 1957 was required to stay in school until at least 16 years of age. Prior to this date the minimum school leaving age was 15. This discontinuity around the 1st September 1957 creates a unique identification opportunity to identify the causal effect of additional schooling on occupational outcomes. Additionally, a very important component of our research idea is to examine outcomes by parental socio-economic group. We believe that the education reform will have had a bigger impact on those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

We hope to supplement our current analysis of the BHPS, IHS and UK-HLS with data from the ONS-LS for two reasons: a) we would like to cross-check our current results with results from the ONS-LS for validity; b) we need the largest sample size possible to use our regression discontinuity estimator.