This dissertation empirically addresses different aspects of learning and education in topics of economics of education and development economics, looking at different points of learning in a person's life. My first chapter investigates the effect of an opposite sex sibling on cognitive and non-cognitive abilities in early childhood for a sample of US children. Sibling sex-composition of the two first-borns in a family is exogenous. Using this identification strategy, the chapter finds that boys benefit from having a sister in terms of their cognitive and non-cognitive skills at the beginning of kindergarten. For girls there is no effect. Consequently, the results indicate that having a sister is beneficial for school readiness. The second chapter uses a newly collected dataset to analyse the causal impact of the European economic crisis on the skill demand in the labour force. The focus is on demand for German language certification. Languages are a prominent barrier for trade and migration within Europe. The case of German is particularly interesting because German-speaking regions were relatively unaffected by the crisis. Using a difference-in-differences approach the chapter finds that demand for German language skills increased significantly in crisis-affected regions. The effect is driven by the young and is particularly high in Greek and Latin linguistic regions, where the downturn was most severe. This chapter contributes novel evidence of the determinants of language demand and is the first economic analysis of skill formation in response to economic crises. The last chapter investigates the impact of civil war exposure on educational attainment of Roma and non-Roma in former Yugoslavia. To this day, only a fraction of Roma ever completes school. Using a cohort analysis, this chapter shows that Roma are adversely affected by war exposure in contrast to non-Roma. The effect is strongest for the ones who were in primary and lower secondary school during the war. Additional results show that exposure to the war reduces the probability of completing secondary school for Roma which has potentially long-lasting effects with respect to persistent poverty.