Raising the minimum age for leaving school above 16 would help solve Canada's high school dropout dilemma, says a C.D. Howe Institute commentary.
One in five young adults lack a high school diploma, which, according to the report
Stay in School: New Lessons on the Benefits of Raising the Legal School-Leaving Age
, is disturbing because dropouts fare much worse than graduates.
On average, dropouts earn less and are more likely to be unemployed and draw social assistance.
The paper, written by University of Toronto professor Philip Oreopoulos, examines new evidence on the benefits of raising the legal dropout age in the United States and New Brunswick, which raised the school-leaving age to 18 in 2000.
The report found that raising the dropout age increases an individual’s length of schooling, decreases dropout rates and increases the number of young adults who attend college or university.
But more importantly, according to Oreopoulos, the results show that an additional year of compulsory schooling not only lowers the probability of being unemployed but also boosts weekly earnings.