Compulsory Schooling, the Family, and the "Foreign Element," Evidence from the United States, 1880-1900
Date of Original Version
Abstract or Table of Contents
This paper uses exogenous variation in family schooling decisions induced by compulsory schooling laws to study the intra-family allo- cation of education among children. Using both administrative and self-reported data from the census, evidence is given that compulsory schooling laws increased attendance between 1880 and 1900, partic- ularly for the children of immigrants who were a special target of attendance laws. The effect of the compulsory schooling law on the individual is then compared to the in uence of the average number of children in the home affected by a law. Evidence is given that some increased attendance came at the cost of siblings' attendance, with family allocation of schooling determining the ultimate impact of the law. The family effects of the law are strongest on the children of immigrants.