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Why are criminals less educated than non-criminals? Evidence from a cohort of young Australian twins

Author

Listed:
  • Dinand Webbink
  • Pierre Koning
  • Suncica Vujic
  • N. Martin

Abstract

This paper investigates the question whether crime reduces investment in human capital or whether education reduces criminal activity by using fixed effect estimation on data of Australian twins. The study takes genetic and socio-economic factors shared by the twins into account. We find that early arrests (before the age of 18) have a strong effect on human capital accumulation. In addition, we find that education decreases crime. However, controlling for early arrests and early behaviour problems reduces the estimated effect of human capital on crime to less than on third of the previously estimated association. From this, we conclude that the strong association between human capital and crime is mainly driven by the effect of early criminal behaviour on educational attainment. The strong detrimental effects of early criminal behaviour become also transparent if we consider the estimated effects of early arrests on three measures of crime. We also find large effects of early criminal behaviour on participation in crime later on. This suggests that programs that succeed in preventing early criminal behaviour might yield high social and private returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Dinand Webbink & Pierre Koning & Suncica Vujic & N. Martin, 2008. "Why are criminals less educated than non-criminals? Evidence from a cohort of young Australian twins," CPB Discussion Paper 114, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:114
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Crime and education
      by UDADISI in UDADISI on 2013-03-04 20:12:00

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    Cited by:

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    2. Bhalotra, Sonia & Clarke, Damian, 2022. "Analysis of Twins," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1428, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    3. Rud, I & Van Klaveren, C. & Groot, W. and Maassen van den Brink, H., 2013. "Education and Youth Crime: a Review of the Empirical Literature," Working Papers 48, Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research.
    4. Kim, Jinho & Kim, Rockli & Oh, Hannah & Lippert, Adam M. & Subramanian, S.V., 2020. "Estimating the influence of adolescent delinquent behavior on adult health using sibling fixed effects," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 265(C).
    5. Shannon Ward & Jenny Williams, 2015. "Does Juvenile Delinquency Reduce Educational Attainment?," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 12(4), pages 716-756, December.
    6. Aoki, Yu, 2014. "More Schooling, Less Youth Crime? Learning from an Earthquake in Japan," IZA Discussion Papers 8619, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Bennett, Patrick, 2018. "The heterogeneous effects of education on crime: Evidence from Danish administrative twin data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 160-177.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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