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The Effect of Education Policy on Crime: An Intergenerational Perspective

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Abstract

The Swedish comprehensive school reform implied an extension of the number of years of compulsory school from 7 or 8 to 9 for the entire nation and was implemented as a social experiment by municipality between 1949 and 1962. A previous study (Meghir and Palme, 2005) has shown that this reform significantly increased the number of years of schooling as well as labor earnings of the children who went through the post reform school system, in particular for individuals originating from homes with low educated fathers. This study estimates the impact of the reform on criminal behavior: both within the generation directly affected by the reform as well as their children. We use census data on all born in Sweden between 1945 and 1955 and all their children merged with individual register data on all convictions between 1981 and 2008. We find that the educational reform decreased crime substantially for men who were directly affected by it. We also find that the crime rate declined for the sons of those fathers directly affected by the new educational system; we interpret this results as implying that improved education increased resource and parenting quality, leading to improved child outcomes.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2011_0023
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    Cited by:

    1. Blomquist Glenn C. & Troske Kenneth R. & Coomes Paul A. & Jepsen Christopher & Koford Brandon C., 2014. "Estimating the social value of higher education: willingness to pay for community and technical colleges," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-39, January.
    2. Lindgren, Karl-Oskar & Oskarsson, Sven & T Dawes, Christopher, 2014. "Can political inequalities be educated away? Evidence from a Swedish school reform," Working Paper Series 2014:29, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    3. Brian Bell & Rui Costa & Stephen Machin, 2015. "Crime, Compulsory Schooling Laws and Education," CEP Discussion Papers dp1374, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    5. repec:ces:ifodic:v:10:y:2012:i:2:p:18946535 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Rud, Iryna & Van Klaveren, Chris & Groot, Wim & Maassen van den Brink, Henriëtte, 2014. "The externalities of crime: The effect of criminal involvement of parents on the educational attainment of their children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 89-103.
    7. Grönqvist, Hans & Niknami, Susan, 2014. "Alcohol availability and crime: Lessons from liberalized weekend sales restrictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 77-84.
    8. Mike Brewer & Monica Costa Dias & Jonathan Shaw, 2012. "Lifetime inequality and redistribution," IFS Working Papers W12/23, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    9. Karin Hederos Eriksson & Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist & Anna Sandberg, 2016. "The importance of family background and neighborhood effects as determinants of crime," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 219-262, January.
    10. Ignacio Munyo, 2015. "The Juvenile Crime Dilemma," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(2), pages 201-211, April.
    11. Randi Hjalmarsson & Lance Lochner, 2012. "The Impact of Education on Crime: International Evidence," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(2), pages 49-55, 08.
    12. Costa, Rui & Machin, Stephen, 2016. "Crime, compulsory schooling laws and educationAuthor-Name: Bell, Brian," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 214-226.
    13. Aslund, Olof & Grönqvist, Hans & Hall, Caroline & Vlachos, Jonas, 2015. "Education and Criminal Behavior: Insights from an Expansion of Upper Secondary School," IZA Discussion Papers 9374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Campaniello, Nadia & Gray, Rowena & Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2016. "Returns to education in criminal organizations: Did going to college help Michael Corleone?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 242-258.
    15. Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew J., 2013. "The origins of intergenerational associations in crime: Lessons from Swedish adoption data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 68-81.
    16. Brugård, Kaja Høiseth & Falch, Torberg, 2013. "Post-compulsory education and imprisonment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 97-106.
    17. Palme, Mårten & Simeonova, Emilia, 2015. "Does women's education affect breast cancer risk and survival? Evidence from a population based social experiment in education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 115-124.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Comprehensive school; economics of crime; returns to education; returns to human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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