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Education Policy and Crime

In: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs

  • Lance Lochner

This paper discusses the relationship between education and crime from an economic perspective, developing a human capital-based model that sheds light on key ways in which early childhood programs and policies that encourage schooling may affect both juvenile and adult crime. The paper first discusses evidence on the effects of educational attainment, school quality, and school enrollment on crime. Next, the paper discusses evidence on the crime reduction effects of preschool programs like Perry Preschool and Head Start, school-age programs that emphasize social and emotional development, and job training programs for low-skill adolescents and young adults. Finally, the paper concludes with a broad discussion of education policy and its potential role as a crime-fighting strategy.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Philip Cook & Jens Ludwig & Justin McCrary, 2011. "Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number cook10-1, December.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12090.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12090
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page:

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

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    1. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-34, July.
    2. 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.
    3. Hjalmarsson, Randi, 2008. "Criminal justice involvement and high school completion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 613-630, March.
    4. 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.
    5. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L Miller, 2007. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 159-208, 02.
    6. Paolo Buonanno & Leone Leonida, 2005. "Education and crime: evidence from Italian regions," Working Papers (-2012) 0503, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
    7. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
    8. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Dan Usher, 1997. "Education as a Deterrent to Crime," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(2), pages 367-84, May.
    10. Stephen Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Crime and economic incentives," IFS Working Papers W00/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    11. James J. Heckman & Paul LaFontaine, 2006. "Bias Corrected Estimates of GED Returns," NBER Working Papers 12018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. 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.
    13. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1991. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," NBER Working Papers 3804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2006. "The Effect of School Choice on Participants: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1191-1230, 09.
    15. Peter Z. Schochet & John Burghardt & Steven Glazerman, 2001. "National Job Corps Study: The Impacts of Job Corps on Participants' Employment and Related Outcomes," Mathematica Policy Research Reports db6c4204b8e1408bb0c6289ec, Mathematica Policy Research.
    16. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2009. "The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program," Working Papers 200936, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    17. Jonathan Guryan, 2001. "Desegregation and Black Dropout Rates," NBER Working Papers 8345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Mustard, David B, 2001. "Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence from the U.S. Federal Courts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 285-314, April.
    19. Barnett, W.S. & Masse, Leonard N., 2007. "Comparative benefit-cost analysis of the Abecedarian program and its policy implications," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 113-125, February.
    20. Ann Dryden Witte & Helen Tauchen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 4794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. David J. Deming, 2011. "Better Schools, Less Crime?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 2063-2115.
    22. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
    23. Sarah J. Reber, 2007. "School Desegregation and Educational Attainment for Blacks," NBER Working Papers 13193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Lance Lochner, 2004. "Education, Work, and Crime: A Human Capital Approach," NBER Working Papers 10478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. Donohue, John J, III & Siegelman, Peter, 1998. "Allocating Resources among Prisons and Social Programs in the Battle against Crime," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-43, January.
    26. Witte, Ann D & Tauchen, Helen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 155-67.
    27. Jeff Grogger, 1997. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," NBER Working Papers 5983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Clive R Belfield & Milagros Nores & Steve Barnett & Lawrence Schweinhart, 2006. "The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program: Cost–Benefit Analysis Using Data from the Age-40 Followup," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    29. Antonio Merlo & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2008. "The Transition from School to Jail: Youth Crime and High School Completion Among Black Males," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
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