The Weight of History: A Natural Experiment in Higher Education - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

The Weight of History: A Natural Experiment in Higher Education

Mahdi Majbouri


Date:
July, 2019

NO.
1313

Publisher:
Economic Research Forum

Topic:
I.28 Government Policy
I2. Education and Research Institutions

Using a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD) and publicly available datasets, this study measures the effect of the Iranian Cultural Revolution, during which all institutions of tertiary education were closed for 30 months, on college attainment rates of affected cohorts. The results show that this elimination of higher education supply reduced men’s college attainment rate by only two percentage points (about 15%) while it had no impact on women’s. Moreover, using this natural experiment, it finds the returns to college and above education to be about 100%. These results provide an example showing that when demand for education is high, a temporary reduction in supply may have little long-term impact.

Research Fellows

Mahdi Majbouri

Associate Professor, Babson College, Wellesley, MA


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