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The Effect of Education on Criminal Convictions and Incarceration: Causal Evidence from Micro-data

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  • Hjalmarsson, Randi
  • Holmlund, Helena
  • Lindquist, Matthew

Abstract

This paper studies the causal effect of educational attainment on conviction and incarceration using Sweden's compulsory schooling reform as an instrument for years of schooling and a 25 percent random sample from Sweden's Multigenerational Register matched with more than 30 years of administrative crime records. The first stage of the analysis employs a differences-in-differences design to account for the non-random implementation of the reform across municipalities, and finds that exposure to the reform increased average educational attainment by 0.28 years for males and 0.16 years for females. Our 2SLS estimates indicate that more schooling has a significant negative effect on convictions and incarceration at both the extensive and intensive margins. These effects are generally seen for both males and females. Specifically, one additional year of schooling decreases the likelihood of incarceration by 16 percent for males and the likelihood of conviction by 7.5 and 11 percent for males and females, respectively. In addition, we find that the effect of education on crime persists across birth cohorts, throughout the life cycle, and across crime categories.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8646.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8646

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Keywords: crime; education; school reform;

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References

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  1. Paolo Buonanno & Leone Leonida, 2005. "Education and crime: evidence from Italian regions," Working Papers 0503, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
  2. Lance Lochner, 2010. "Education Policy and Crime," NBER Working Papers 15894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Machin, Stephen & Marie, Olivier & Vujić, Sunčica, 2010. "The Crime Reducing Effect of Education," IZA Discussion Papers 5000, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2005. "The Relationship Between Education and Adult Mortality in the United States," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 189-221.
  5. Philip Oreopoulos & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2009. "How large are returns to schooling? Hint: Money isn't everything," NBER Working Papers 15339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Elena Rouse & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Estimating Returns to Schooling When Schooling is Misreported," NBER Working Papers 7235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Holmlund, Helena, 2007. "A Researcher's Guide to the Swedish Compulsory School Reform," Working Paper Series 9/2007, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  8. Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2012. "Like Godfather, Like Son: Exploring the Intergenerational Nature of Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 550-582.
  9. Hjalmarsson, Randi, 2008. "Criminal justice involvement and high school completion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 613-630, March.
  10. Grönqvist, Hans, 2011. "Youth Unemployment and Crime: New Lessons Exploring Longitudinal Register Data," Working Paper Series 7/2011, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Meghir, Costas & Palme, Mårten & Schnabel, Marieke, 2011. "The Effect of Education Policy on Crime: An Intergenerational Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 6142, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Lindquist, Matthew J. & Santavirta, Torsten, 2012. "Does Placing Children in Out-of-Home Care Increase Their Adult Criminality?," Working Paper Series 8/2012, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  3. Lindquist, Matthew J. & Santavirta, Torsten, 2013. "Does Placing Children in Foster Care Increase Their Adult Criminality?," Working Paper Series 3/2013, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  4. Brugård, Kaja Høiseth & Falch, Torberg, 2013. "Post-compulsory education and imprisonment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 97-106.
  5. Randi Hjalmarsson & Lance Lochner, 2012. "The Impact of Education on Crime: International Evidence," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(2), pages 49-55, 08.

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