Research Paper IBER Working Paper Series 2017-6
Does compulsory education really increase life satisfaction?
This paper examines the impact of the 1972 British education reform on life satisfaction using 1996-2008 British Household Panel Survey data. The education reform increased compulsory education by one year for those who were born after the 1st of September 1957, yielding an exogenous change in education for the treated group. Contrary to other work, we find no evidence that a one-year rise in compulsory education increased life satisfaction, even though it is often estimated to increase income. Many of our estimates suggest a negative relationship: the positive life-satisfaction effect found in research using earlier data does not then seem to have endured.