This paper uses a natural experiment from Egypt to examine the effect of extending compulsory schooling on long-term educational and labor market outcomes. Beginning in school year 2004–05, the Egyptian government extended primary education from five to six years, moving from an eight-year compulsory schooling system to a nine-year system. Using a regression discontinuity design, I examine whether the compulsory schooling expansion affects years of schooling, literacy and cognitive skills, post-primary attendance, and labor market outcomes of individuals born just around the 1992 school entry cutoff. The results suggest that an extra year of compulsory education increases total years of schooling by 0.6 to 0.8 years. This effect, however, is concentrated among male individuals. In particular, I find that the school reform increases the schooling gap between male and female students by somewhere between 0.30 and 0.48 years. I also find no effect of expanding compulsory education on individuals’ literacy skills, schooling beyond the primary education level, or labor market outcomes. There is some evidence, however, that the school reform has improved reading and self-reported writing skills among male individuals.

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