This paper provides new evidence on the causal effect of shortening the duration of pre-university education on long-term labour market outcomes in Ghana. We use the education reform of 1987 as a natural experiment, which reduced the years of education prior to university from 17 to 12 years. Our identification strategy uses a regression discontinuity design, taking advantage of the situation that pre- and post-reform birth cohorts entered the labour market around the same time, thus facing similar conditions. Our results indicate that the drastic cut in the duration of pre-tertiary education improved the labour market success of treated cohorts. However, this is driven by a 'quantity' effect: the shorter course duration reduced the direct and indirect costs of acquiring post-primary education and allowed more students to enrol, which provided access to better job opportunities. On aggregate, this has dominated the negative effect on education 'quality'.
years of education labour market outcomes regression discontinuity Ghana