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The intergenerational effects of education on delinquency

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  • Chalfin, Aaron
  • Deza, Monica

Abstract

Children of less educated parents are more likely to engage in delinquent behavior. One explanation for this is that better educated parents are inherently more likely to raise children in ways that are less conducive to criminal participation. Alternatively, additional parental education may change parents’ behavior in ways that reduces their children’s propensity to commit crime. Using data from the NLSY79 and variation induced by changes in compulsory schooling laws in the United States, we find that an increase in parental education reduces delinquent behavior among the children of those exposed to compulsory schooling laws. This research is the first to uncover evidence of an intergenerational effect of education on crime in the United States. We conclude that previous analyses of compulsory schooling laws − and investments in education more generally − appreciably underestimate the full benefits of investments in education.

Suggested Citation

  • Chalfin, Aaron & Deza, Monica, 2019. "The intergenerational effects of education on delinquency," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 553-571.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:159:y:2019:i:c:p:553-571
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.07.034
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    Keywords

    Intergenerational effects; Education; Crime; Delinquency;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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