Students to lose income later on, if schools are closed for long

Analyses show that a shortfall in lessons permanently reduces skill development and future success in the labor market

The Munich-based ifo Institute warns on Monday of loss of income in the working life of students whose schools were closed for an extended period during the coronavirus crisis.

“Students who lose around a third of a school year’s study time will on average receive approximately 3–4 percent less income over the course of their professional lives,” said Ludger Woessmann, Director of the ifo Center for the Economics of Education, in an article published in ifo Schnelldienst.

Analyses of strike-related school closures, pre-planned shorter school years, and long school vacations show that a shortfall in lessons permanently reduces skill development and future success in the labor market, Woessmann explained. At the present time, students’ study habits vary massively and a significant proportion are barely studying at all. “We must do all we can to ensure that all children and young people start studying again immediately – whether they’re going to school or not.”

Assuming most children and young people will soon return to school, at least part-time, decision-makers should keep in mind the high follow-up costs of the shortfall in studying when designing a hybrid curriculum of in-school and at-home learning and if more lessons are canceled at a local or regional level due to, say, a spike in new infections.

The estimates are based on extensive research into the economics of education, which indicate that each additional year of schooling leads to an average increase in lifetime income of around 10 percent. In addition, analyses of long summer vacations show that school closures have a negative effect on skill development, which in turn raises fears of an increase in inequality within society.

 

Similar articles