IZA DP No. 2548: Exploring the Impact of Interrupted Education on Earnings: The Educational Cost of the Chinese Cultural Revolution
During the Chinese Cultural Revolution many schools stopped normal operation for a long time, senior high schools stopped student recruitment for up to 6 years, and universities stopped recruitment for an even longer period. Such large scale school interruptions significantly reduced the opportunity for a large cohort of individuals to obtain university degrees and senior high school qualifications. More than half of this cohort who would normally attain a university degree were unable to do so. We estimate that those who did not obtain a university degree, because of the Cultural Revolution, lost an average of more than 50 percent of potential earnings. Both genders suffered reduced attainment of senior high school certificates and more than 20 per cent prematurely stopped their education process at junior high school level. However, these education responses do not appear to have translated into lower earnings. In addition, at each level of education attainment most of the cohort experienced missed or interrupted schooling. We show, however, that given the education certificate attained, the impact on earnings of these missed years of schooling or lack of normal curricula was small.