A researcher’s guide to the Swedish compulsory school reform

Summary of Working paper 2020:15

This paper demonstrates how a natural experiment in education can be used to estimate causal effects. The Swedish compulsory school reform extended basic education gradually across cohorts and municipalities, allowing for a difference-in-differences analysis. The paper summarizes the literature using this reform and shows that it provided individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds with better opportunities in life. Not only did they attain higher levels of education – they also earned higher earnings, were less likely to participate in crime, and more likely to run for office.

Keywords: education reform, natural experiment
JEL-codes: I24; I26; I28