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The effect of education policy on crime: an intergenerational perspective

  • Meghir, Costas


    (Department of Economics, University College London)

  • Palme, Mårten


    (Department of Economics, Stockholm University)

  • Schnabel, Marieke


    (Department of Economics, University College London)

A number of studies have shown that education reforms extending compulsory schooling reduce criminal behavior of those affected by the reform. We consider the effects of a major Swedish educational reform on crime by exploiting its staggered implementation across Sweden. We first show that the reform reduced crime rates for the generation directly affected by the reform. We then show that the benefits extended to the next generation with large reductions in the crime rates of the children of those affected. The effect operates only through the father and points in the direction of improved parenting rather than resources.

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2011:20.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: 23 Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2011_020
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  1. Goldin, Claudia, 1999. "Egalitarianism and the Returns to Education during the Great Transformation of American Education," Scholarly Articles 2623652, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Hjalmarsson, Randi & Holmlund, Helena & Lindquist, Matthew, 2011. "The Effect of Education on Criminal Convictions and Incarceration: Causal Evidence from Micro-data," CEPR Discussion Papers 8646, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 15664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Machin, Stephen & Marie, Olivier & Vujić, Sunčica, 2010. "The Crime Reducing Effect of Education," IZA Discussion Papers 5000, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  6. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 2550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Costas Meghir & MÃ¥rten Palme, 2003. "Ability, parental background and educational policy: empirical evidence from a social experiment," IFS Working Papers W03/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Jenny Williams & Robin C. Sickles, 2002. "An Analysis of the Crime as Work Model: Evidence from the 1958 Philadelphia Birth Cohort Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(3), pages 479-509.
  9. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2003. "Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration, and Juvenile Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1560-1577, December.
  10. Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew, 2011. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations in Crime: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 8318, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, July.
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  17. Holmlund, Helena, 2007. "A Researcher's Guide to the Swedish Compulsory School Reform," Working Paper Series 9/2007, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  18. John J. Donohue & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Legalized Abortion and Crime," JCPR Working Papers 104, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  19. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do about It?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 25-42, Winter.
  20. Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2012. "Like Godfather, Like Son: Exploring the Intergenerational Nature of Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 550-582.
  21. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
  22. Karin Edmark, 2005. "Unemployment and Crime: Is There a Connection?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(2), pages 353-373, 06.
  23. 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.
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