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The Crime Reducing Effect of Education

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Author Info

  • Machin, Stephen

    ()
    (University College London)

  • Marie, Olivier

    ()
    (Maastricht University)

  • Vujić, Sunčica

    ()
    (University of Bath)

Abstract

In this paper, we present evidence on empirical connections between crime and education, using various data sources from Britain. A robust finding is that criminal activity is negatively associated with higher levels of education. However, it is essential to ensure that the direction of causation flows from education to crime. Therefore, we identify the effect of education on participation in criminal activity using changes in compulsory school leaving age laws over time to account for the endogeneity of education. In this causal approach, for property crimes, the negative crime-education relationship remains strong and significant. The implications of these findings are unambiguous and clear. They show that improving education can yield significant social benefits and can be a key policy tool in the drive to reduce crime.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5000.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Journal, 2011, 121 (552), 463-484
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5000

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Keywords: offenders; crime; education;

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References

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  1. Arnaud Chevalier & Colm Harmon & Vincent O'Sullivan & Ian Walker, 2005. "The Impact of Parental Income and Education on the Schooling of their Children," Studies in Economics, Department of Economics, University of Kent 0504, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
  2. Lindeboom, Maarten & Llena-Nozal, Ana & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2009. "Parental education and child health: Evidence from a schooling reform," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 109-131, January.
  3. Stephen Machin & Olivier Marie & Sunčica Vujić, 2011. "The Crime Reducing Effect of Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 463-484, 05.
  4. Arnaud Chevalier, 2004. "Parental Education And Child's Education: A Natural Experiment," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004, Royal Economic Society 42, Royal Economic Society.
  5. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-91, October.
  6. Tauchen, Helen & Witte, Ann Dryden & Griesinger, Harriet, 1994. "Criminal Deterrence: Revisiting the Issue with a Birth Cohort," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 399-412, August.
  7. Hjalmarsson, Randi, 2008. "Criminal justice involvement and high school completion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 613-630, March.
  8. Stephen Gibbons & Stephen Machin & Olmo Silva, 2012. "Valuing School Quality Using Boundary Discontinuities," CEE Discussion Papers, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE 0132, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  9. Steven D. Levitt & Lance Lochner, 2001. "The Determinants of Juvenile Crime," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 327-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Stephen Machin & Costas Meghir, 2004. "Crime and Economic Incentives," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
  11. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2003. "Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration and Juvenile Crime," NBER Working Papers 9653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ricardo Sabates & Leon Feinstein, 2008. "Effects of government initiatives on youth crime," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 462-483, July.
  13. Orla Doyle & Colm Harmon & Ian Walker, 2007. "The Impact of Parental Income and Education on Child Health. Further Evidence for England," Working Papers, Geary Institute, University College Dublin 200706, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  14. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2213-2229, December.
  15. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  17. Stephen Machin & Olivier Marie, 2005. "Crime and police resources: the street crime initiative," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 19902, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  18. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
  19. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  20. Isaac Ehrlich, 1975. "On the Relation between Education and Crime," NBER Chapters, in: Education, Income, and Human Behavior, pages 313-338 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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