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Education Policy and Crime

  • Lance Lochner

This paper discusses the relationship between education and crime from an economic perspective, developing a human capital-based model that sheds light on key ways in which early childhood programs and policies that encourage schooling may affect both juvenile and adult crime. The paper first discusses evidence on the effects of educational attainment, school quality, and school enrollment on crime. Next, the paper discusses evidence on the crime reduction effects of preschool programs like Perry Preschool and Head Start, school-age programs that emphasize social and emotional development, and job training programs for low-skill adolescents and young adults. Finally, the paper concludes with a broad discussion of education policy and its potential role as a crime-fighting strategy.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15894.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Education Policy and Crime , Lance Lochner. in Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs , Cook, Ludwig, and McCrary. 2011
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15894
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  1. Witte, Ann D & Tauchen, Helen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 155-67.
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  3. Machin Stephen & Marie Olivier & Vujić Sunčica, 2010. "The Crime Reducing Effect of Education," Research Memorandum 061, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  4. Luallen, Jeremy, 2006. "School's out... forever: A study of juvenile crime, at-risk youths and teacher strikes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 75-103, January.
  5. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2004. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," NBER Working Papers 10777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Merlo, Antonio & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 2015. "The transition from school to jail: Youth crime and high school completion among black males," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 234-251.
  8. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2009. "The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program," Working Papers 200936, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  10. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2006. "The Effect of School Choice on Participants: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1191-1230, 09.
  11. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2005. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," NBER Working Papers 11702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Lance Lochner, 2010. "Non-Production Benefits of Education: Crime, Health and Good Citizenship," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20107, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
  13. Clive R Belfield & Milagros Nores & Steve Barnett & Lawrence Schweinhart, 2006. "The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program: Cost–Benefit Analysis Using Data from the Age-40 Followup," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
  14. Eliana Garces & Duncan Thomas & Janet Currie, 2000. "Longer Term Effects of Head Start," Working Papers 00-20, RAND Corporation.
  15. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  16. David J. Deming, 2011. "Better Schools, Less Crime?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 2063-2115.
  17. Allen Schirm & Elizabeth Stuart & Allison McKie, 2006. "The Quantum Opportunity Program Demonstration: Final Impacts," Mathematica Policy Research Reports ac481c0313ec4f7bbf036f563, Mathematica Policy Research.
  18. David A. Weiner & Byron F. Lutz & Jens Ludwig, 2009. "The Effects of School Desegregation on Crime," NBER Working Papers 15380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Paolo Buonanno & Leone Leonida, 2005. "Education and crime: evidence from Italian regions," Working Papers (-2012) 0503, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
  20. Jonathan Guryan, 2004. "Desegregation and Black Dropout Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 919-943, September.
  21. Ann Dryden Witte & Helen Tauchen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 4794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. James J. Heckman & Paul LaFontaine, 2006. "Bias Corrected Estimates of GED Returns," NBER Working Papers 12018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Peter Z. Schochet & John Burghardt & Steven Glazerman, 2001. "National Job Corps Study: The Impacts of Job Corps on Participants' Employment and Related Outcomes," Mathematica Policy Research Reports db6c4204b8e1408bb0c6289ec, Mathematica Policy Research.
  24. Hjalmarsson, Randi, 2008. "Criminal justice involvement and high school completion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 613-630, March.
  25. Philip Oreopoulos & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2009. "How large are returns to schooling? Hint: Money isn't everything," NBER Working Papers 15339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. David A. Long & Charles D. Mallar & Craig Thornton, 1981. "Evaluating the Benefits and Costs of the Job Corps," Mathematica Policy Research Reports ba3a91e82f5f43b48bab18ea4, Mathematica Policy Research.
  27. Barnett, W.S. & Masse, Leonard N., 2007. "Comparative benefit-cost analysis of the Abecedarian program and its policy implications," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 113-125, February.
  28. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-34, July.
  29. Donohue, John J, III & Siegelman, Peter, 1998. "Allocating Resources among Prisons and Social Programs in the Battle against Crime," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-43, January.
  30. Sarah J. Reber, 2007. "School Desegregation and Educational Attainment for Blacks," NBER Working Papers 13193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2003. "Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration and Juvenile Crime," NBER Working Papers 9653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Mustard, David B, 2001. "Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence from the U.S. Federal Courts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 285-314, April.
  33. repec:mpr:mprres:2951 is not listed on IDEAS
  34. Lance Lochner, 2004. "Education, Work, and Crime: A Human Capital Approach," NBER Working Papers 10478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Dan Usher, 1997. "Education as a Deterrent to Crime," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(2), pages 367-84, May.
  36. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1991. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," NBER Working Papers 3804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Stephen Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Crime and economic incentives," IFS Working Papers W00/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  38. Jeff Grogger, 1997. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," NBER Working Papers 5983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
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