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The Effect of Education Policy on Crime: An Intergenerational Perspective

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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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2011:23.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: 19 May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2011_0023
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
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Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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  13. 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.
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  19. Goldin, Claudia, 1999. "Egalitarianism and the Returns to Education during the Great Transformation of American Education," Scholarly Articles 2623652, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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