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Violence and Human Capital Investments


  • Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner
  • Lívia Menezes


In this paper, we investigate the effect of exposure to homicides on the educational performance and human capital investments of students in Brazil. We combine extremely granular information on the location and timing of homicides with a number of very large administrative educational datasets, to estimate the effect of exposure to homicides around schools, students' residence, and on their way to school on these outcomes. We show that violence has a detrimental effect on school attendance, on standardised test scores in math and Portuguese language and increases dropout rates of students substantially. The effects are particularly pronounced for boys, indicating important heterogeneous effects of violence. We use exceptionally rich information from student- and parent-background questionnaires to investigate the effect of violence on the aspirations and attitudes towards education. In line with the effects on dropout and the longer-term human capital accumulation of students, we find that boys systematically report lower educational aspiration towards education. Making use of the very rich information from the homicides and education data, we explore a number of underlying transmission channels, including mechanisms related to school supply, bereavement and incentives for human capital investments.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner & Lívia Menezes, 2019. "Violence and Human Capital Investments," Discussion Papers in Economics 19/03, Division of Economics, School of Business, University of Leicester.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:19/03

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Bindler & Randi Hjalmarsson & Nadine Ketel & Andreea Mitrut, 2024. "Discontinuities in the Age-Victimisation Profile and the Determinants of Victimisation," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 134(657), pages 95-134.
    2. Bharadwaj, Prashant & Bhuller, Manudeep & Løken, Katrine V. & Wentzel, Mirjam, 2021. "Surviving a mass shooting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 201(C).
    3. Freitas-Monteiro, Teresa & Ludolph, Lars, 2021. "Barriers to humanitarian migration, victimisation and integration outcomes: evidence from Germany," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 110500, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Abi Adams-Prassl & Kristiina Huttunen & Emily Nix & Ning Zhang, 2022. "Violence Against Women at Work," Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers 064, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    5. Magaly Faride Herrera Giraldo & Carlos Giovanni González Espitia, 2022. "Understanding the Spatial Relationship Between the Informal Labor Market and Violent Crime in Cali, Colombia," Icesi Economics Working Papers 20344, Universidad Icesi.
    6. Padilla-Romo, María & Peluffo, Cecilia, 2023. "Persistence of the Spillover Effects of Violence and Educational Trajectories," IZA Discussion Papers 16374, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Lekfuangfu, Warn N., 2022. "Mortality risk, perception, and human capital investments: The legacy of landmines in Cambodia," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    8. Erwin, Christopher & Hennecke, Juliane & Meehan, Lisa & Pacheco, Gail, 2022. "Dynamic Relationships between Criminal Offending and Victimization," IZA Discussion Papers 15757, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Aksoy, Cevat Giray & Khanna, Gaurav & Marino, Victoria & Tumen, Semih, 2024. "Hometown Conflict and Refugees' Integration Efforts," IZA Discussion Papers 16862, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Jelnov, Pavel, 2021. "Sunset Long Shadows: Time, Crime, and Perception of Change," IZA Discussion Papers 14770, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Haugan, Gregory L. & Santos, Rafael, 2024. "Beheading a Hydra: Kingpin Extradition, Homicides, Education Outcomes, and the End of Medellin’s Pax Mafiosa," Documentos CEDE 21073, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    12. Comi, Simona & Origo, Federica & Pagani, Laura & Tonello, Marco, 2021. "Last and furious: Relative position and school violence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 736-756.
    13. Magaly Faride Herrera Giraldo & Carlos Giovanni González Espitia & Héctor Ochoa Díaz, 2023. "The spatial and economic relationship between labour informality and homicides in Cali, Colombia," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 41(5), September.
    14. Ozturk Ahmet & Tumen Semih, 2023. "The revolution is dead, long live the demolition: Education and labor market consequences of student riots," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 12(1), pages 1-34, January.

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    More about this item


    Homocides; human capital investments; education; Brazil;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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