New Publication – Revisiting Sweden’s Comprehensive School Reform: Effects on Education and Earnings

New Publication: “Revisiting Sweden’s comprehensive school reform: Effects on education and earnings” by Martin Karlsson, together with Martin Fischer (Karolinska Institute), Gawain Heckley and Therese Nilsson (both Lund University) is published in the Journal of Applied Econometrics.


We revisit a Swedish comprehensive school reform first evaluated by Meghir and Palme (2005) (AER, 95(1):414-424). This reform increased years of schooling and abolished tracking. We extend the original analysis to the full population and introduce an improved education measure. Our results confirm the original overall finding of small average earnings effects. However, we find considerably larger increases in educational attainment and no evidence of decreased labor earnings for students with high-educated fathers. Our analysis provides two new important insights: First, we find no evidence that de-tracking had differential earnings effects across socio-economic groups. Second, previous IV estimates using similar administrative education data are substantially upward biased.