Did the Great Depression affect Educational Attainment in the US?

Economics Bulletin 01/2009; 9(30):1-10.
Source: RePEc


Great Depression is an example of a macroeconomic crisis that produced adverse economic and social effects in all spheres of life. Theoretical arguments about the real effects of the Great Depression on education vary. First is economic hardships, which might force individuals eligible to go to school to work instead. Second is that high unemployment would make going to school the best other viable alternative. Following these theoretical notions, this paper explores the impact of the Great Depression on education, on race (whites and blacks) and gender (males and females), during the period 1930-1940. Furthermore, I test the effects of state employment indices on education. The results (using 1960 census data) show some evidence that education of whites born between 1911 and 1915 was affected. However, there is no evidence that the variation in state employment indices affected the decision of schooling on the average (mean).

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    • "However, the link between crisis and schooling attainment seems to be ambiguous. Kisswani (2008) "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the effect of government educational spending and macroeconomic uncertainty on schooling outcomes in Nigeria using the econometric methods of cointegration and error correction mechanism together with the vector autoregression methodology. The results indicate that schooling outcome cointegrated with all the identified explanatory variables. The study found that public educational spending impacts positively on schooling outcome while macroeconomic instability impacts negatively. The variance decomposition analysis shows that “own shocks” constitute the predominant source of variation in schooling outcome. The impulse response analysis shows that any unanticipated increase in the macroeconomic uncertainty rate will have a contractionary impact on literacy rate. The policy implication of this study is that government should pay attention to policies that enhance educational attainment through adequate public social investment under stable macroeconomic environment.
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