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Does Eligibility for Tertiary Education Affect Crime Rates? Quasi-Experimental Evidence

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Abstract

This paper estimates a tertiary eligibility effect on crime for Sweden. The idea is that investment in higher education is a way of escaping youth inactivity and idleness, and, since youth inactivity is known to trigger crime, the self-incapacitation effect of higher education decreases crime rates. However, to invest in higher education, the individual has to meet the tertiary eligibility requirements in upper-secondary school. Tertiary eligibility may therefore affect crime rates. Evidence of an exogenous grade inflation in the eligibility rate is used to identify the tertiary eligibility effect. With the introduction of a goal-related grading system, the share with tertiary eligibility increased by more than 6 percentage points. Accordingly, during the period with grade inflation in the eligibility rate, crime rates fell, but, when the period of grade inflation was ended, the effect of tertiary eligibility on crime disappeared as well. Hence, when youth have the opportunity to invest in higher education, and thus escape unemployment or inactivity, their propensity to commit crime decreases.

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  • Nordin , Martin, 2014. "Does Eligibility for Tertiary Education Affect Crime Rates? Quasi-Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 2014:14, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2014_014
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    File URL: http://project.nek.lu.se/publications/workpap/papers/WP14_14.pdf
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    1. James, Jonathan & Vujić, Sunčica, 2019. "From high school to the high chair: Education and fertility timing," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1-24.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; education; tertiary eligibility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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