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Crime, compulsory schooling laws and education

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  • Bell, Brian
  • Costa, Rui
  • Machin, Stephen

Abstract

Do compulsory schooling laws reduce crime? Previous evidence for the U.S. from the 1960s and 1970s suggests they do, primarily working through their effect on educational attainment to generate a causal impact on crime. In this paper, we consider whether more recent experience replicates this. There are two key findings. First, there is a strong and consistent negative effect on crime from stricter compulsory schooling laws. Second, there is a weaker and sometimes non-existent link between such laws and educational attainment. As a result, credible causal estimates of the education-crime relationship cannot in general be identified for the more recent period, though they can for some groups with lower education levels (in particular, for blacks).

Suggested Citation

  • Bell, Brian & Costa, Rui & Machin, Stephen, 2015. "Crime, compulsory schooling laws and education," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64968, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:64968
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Noghanibehambari, Hamid & Tavassoli, Nahid, 2022. "An ounce of prevention, a pound of cure: The effects of college expansions on crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    2. Nguyen, Hieu T.M., 2019. "Do more educated neighbourhoods experience less property crime? Evidence from Indonesia," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 27-37.
    3. Brian Bell & Rui Costa & Stephen Machin, 2022. "Why Does Education Reduce Crime?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 130(3), pages 732-765.
    4. López Cruz, Iván G., 2019. "Policing, schooling and human capital accumulation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 572-597.
    5. Beatton, Tony & Kidd, Michael P. & Machin, Stephen & Sarkar, Dipanwita, 2018. "Larrikin youth: Crime and Queensland's Earning or Learning reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 149-159.
    6. Javier Cano-Urbina & Lance Lochner, 2019. "The Effect of Education and School Quality on Female Crime," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 188-235.
    7. Blane D. Lewis & Hieu T. M. Nguyen, 2018. "Policy failure and educational attainment in Indonesia," Departmental Working Papers 2018-17, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    8. Nishijima, Marislei & Pal, Sarmistha, 2020. "Do Compulsory Schooling Laws Always Work? A Study of Youth Crime in Brazilian Municipalities," IZA Discussion Papers 13097, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Bernt Bratsberg & Øystein Hernæs & Simen Markussen & Oddbjørn Raaum & Knut Røed, 2019. "Welfare Activation and Youth Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 101(4), pages 561-574, October.
    10. Manea, Roxana Elena & Piraino, Patrizio & Viarengo, Martina, 2023. "Crime, inequality and subsidized housing: Evidence from South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 168(C).
    11. Masuda, Kazuya & Sakai, Yoko, 2018. "Secondary education and international labor mobility: Evidence from the free secondary education reform in the Philippines," CEI Working Paper Series 2018-5, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    12. Galiani, Sebastian & Jaitman, Laura & Weinschelbaum, Federico, 2020. "Crime and durable goods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 146-163.
    13. Barnes, Stephen & Beland, Louis-Philippe & Joshi, Swarup & Willage, Barton, 2022. "Staying out of trouble? Effect of high school career counseling on crime," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    14. Ciprian Domnisoru, 2021. "Heterogeneity across Families in the Impact of Compulsory Schooling Laws," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 88(350), pages 399-429, April.
    15. Beatton, Tony & Kidd, Michael P. & Machin, Stephen, 2018. "Gender crime convergence over twenty years: Evidence from Australia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 275-288.
    16. Hagleitner, Wolfgang & Sting, Stephan & Maran, Thomas, 2022. "Socio-economic status and living situation of care leavers in Austria," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 142(C).
    17. Md. Abdur Rahman Forhad, 2021. "Minimum Dropout Age and Juvenile Crime in the USA," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 47(3), pages 378-405, June.
    18. Bebonchu Atems, 2020. "Identifying the Dynamic Effects of Income Inequality on Crime," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 82(4), pages 751-782, August.
    19. Sakai Yoko & Masuda Kazuya, 2020. "Secondary education and international labor mobility: evidence from the natural experiment in the Philippines," IZA Journal of Development and Migration, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 11(1), pages 1-22, January.
    20. Laura Jaitman, 2019. "Frontiers in the economics of crime: lessons for Latin America and the Caribbean," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 28(1), pages 1-36, December.
    21. Hazra, Devika & Aranzazu, Jose, 2022. "Crime, correction, education and welfare in the U.S. – What role does the government play?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 474-491.
    22. Brutti, Zelda & Montolio, Daniel, 2021. "Preventing criminal minds: Early education access and adult offending behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 191(C), pages 97-126.
    23. 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.
    24. Mary A. Silles, 2023. "The effect of education on homeownership: Evidence from 20th century school attendance laws in the United States," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 91(1), pages 1-17, January.
    25. Ozturk, Ahmet & Tumen, Semih, 2018. "Education and Labor Market Consequences of Student Protests in Late 1970s and the Subsequent Military Coup in Turkey," IZA Discussion Papers 11733, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; education; compulsory schooling laws;
    All these keywords.

    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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