08 October 2019

Gender differences in the lifecycle benefits of compulsory schooling policies

This study used data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey to investigate the wider consequences to society of increasing the minimum school leaving age (MSLA). The reforms were found to have been particularly effective in improving educational attainment for women as the reforms improved women’s older-age cognition, their wages, their lifetime financial assets, and they also experienced higher quality marital matches. The effects for boys were more mixed but the reform mostly kept them in school to complete year 10, and mainly improved their non-cognitive skills, so they were more prosocial, developed stronger beliefs about their own control in life, and  were happier.