Does Compulsory Schooling Interact with Genetic Predisposition to Improve Cognition? Evidence from the Elsa Study

Yan Liu , King's College London
Giorgio Di Gessa, University College London
Jennifer B. Dowd, Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, University of Oxford

Quasi-experimental methods in social and health sciences have been increasingly used to improve causal inference in the impact of social factors, such as education and job loss, on health outcomes. This approach is beginning to be used to better identify gene-environment interactions with “exogenous” changes in the environment that are uncorrelated with family upbringing. We exploit two changes in the minimum school leaving age from 14 to 15 from March 1947 and 15 to 16 from September 1972 in England, which have been shown to have strong impacts on educational attainment. Data, including Polygenic Risk Scores (PGS) for cognitive function and dementia, come from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). A fuzzy regression discontinuity design (RDD) will be used to identify the causal effect of the policy-induced additional year of education change and how this interacts with genetic risk for cognitive decline

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy