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The Crime Reducing Effect of Education

Listed author(s):
  • Stephen Machin
  • Olivier Marie
  • Sunčica Vujić

In this paper, we study the crime reducing potential of education, presenting causal statistical estimates based upon a law that changed the compulsory school leaving age in England and Wales. We frame the analysis in a regression-discontinuity setting and uncover significant decreases in property crime from reductions in the proportion of people with no educational qualifications and increases in the age of leaving school that resulted from the change in the law. The findings 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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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 121 (2011)
Issue (Month): 552 (05)
Pages: 463-484

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:121:y:2011:i:552:p:463-484
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  1. Arnaud Chevalier & Colm Harmon & Vincent O’ Sullivan & Ian Walker, 2013. "The impact of parental income and education on the schooling of their children," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-22, December.
  2. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
  3. Stephen Machin & Olivier Marie & Sunčica Vujić, 2011. "The Crime Reducing Effect of Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 463-484, 05.
  4. Gibbons, Stephen & Machin, Stephen & Silva, Olmo, 2013. "Valuing school quality using boundary discontinuities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 15-28.
  5. 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, vol. 28(1), pages 109-131, January.
  6. Stephen Machin & Olivier Marie, 2005. "Crime and police resources: the street crime initiative," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19902, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  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. Mirko Draca & Stephen Machin, 2015. "Crime and Economic Incentives," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 389-408, 08.
  11. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2213-2229, December.
  12. Arnaud Chevalier, 2004. "Parental education and child’s education : a natural experiment," Working Papers 200414, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  13. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-791, October.
  14. Doyle, Orla & Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 2007. "The Impact of Parental Income and Education on Child Health : Further Evidence for England," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 788, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  15. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-1286, December.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  19. 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.
  20. Hjalmarsson, Randi, 2008. "Criminal justice involvement and high school completion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 613-630, March.
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