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Crime, compulsory schooling laws and education

Author

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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

    as
    1. Stephen Machin & Olivier Marie & Sunčica Vujić, 2011. "The Crime Reducing Effect of Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 463-484, May.
    2. Meghir, Costas & Palme, Mårten & Schnabel, Marieke, 2011. "The Effect of Education Policy on Crime: An Intergenerational Perspective," Research Papers in Economics 2011:23, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
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    5. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
    6. Philip Oreopoulos & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Priceless: The Nonpecuniary Benefits of Schooling," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 159-184, Winter.
    7. Randi Hjalmarsson & Helena Holmlund & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2015. "The Effect of Education on Criminal Convictions and Incarceration: Causal Evidence from Micro‐data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(587), pages 1290-1326, September.
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    9. Ann Dryden Witte & Helen Tauchen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 4794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Brian Bell & Anna Bindler & Stephen Machin, 2018. "Crime Scars: Recessions and the Making of Career Criminals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 392-404, July.
    11. D. Mark Anderson, 2014. "In School and Out of Trouble? The Minimum Dropout Age and Juvenile Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 318-331, May.
    12. Witte, Ann D & Tauchen, Helen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 155-167.
    13. Luallen, Jeremy, 2006. "School's out... forever: A study of juvenile crime, at-risk youths and teacher strikes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 75-103, January.
    14. 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.
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    1. repec:eee:injoed:v:64:y:2019:i:c:p:27-37 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:159:y:2019:i:c:p:572-597 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bell, Brian & Costa, Rui & Machin, Stephen, 2018. "Why Does Education Reduce Crime?," CEPR Discussion Papers 13162, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Sebastian Galiani & Laura Jaitman & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2016. "Crime and Durable Goods," NBER Working Papers 22788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:eee:eecrev:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:275-288 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Javier Cano-Urbina & Lance Lochner, 2016. "The Effect of Education and School Quality on Female Crime," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20163, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    7. 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.
    8. Bratsberg, Bernt & Hernaes, Øystein & Markussen, Simen & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Røed, Knut, 2018. "Welfare Activation and Youth Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 11719, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. repec:eee:labeco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:149-159 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:eee:labeco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:160-177 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. 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).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; education; compulsory schooling laws;

    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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