The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports
We estimate the effect of high school graduation on participation in criminal activity accounting for endogeneity of schooling. We begin by analyzing the effect of high school graduation on incarceration using Census data. Instrumental variable estimates using changes in state compulsory attendance laws as an instrument for high school graduation uncover a significant reduction in incarceration for both blacks and whites. When estimating the impact of high school graduation only, OLS and IV estimators estimate different weighted sums of the impact of each schooling progression on the probability of incarceration. We clarify the relationship between OLS and IV estimates and show that the 'weights' placed on the impact of each schooling progression can explain differences in the estimates. Overall, the estimates suggest that completing high school reduces the probability of incarceration by about .76 percentage points for whites and 3.4 percentage points for blacks. We corroborate these findings using FBI data on arrests that distinguish among different types of crimes. The biggest impacts of graduation are associated with murder, assault, and motor vehicle theft. We also examine the effect of drop out on self-reported crime in the NLSY and find that our estimates for imprisonment and arrest are caused by changes in criminal behavior and not educational differences in the probability of arrest or incarceration conditional on crime. We estimate that the externality of education is about 14-26% of the private return to schooling, suggesting that a significant part of the social return to education comes in the form of externalities from crime reduction.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2001|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Lochner, Lance and Enrico Moretti. "The Effect Of Education On Crime: Evidence From Prison Inmates, Arrests, And Self-Reports," American Economic Review, 2004, v94(1,Mar), 155-189.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-758.
- Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995.
"Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects,"
NBER Technical Working Papers
0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1996.
"Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do about It?,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 25-42, Winter.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do About It?," NBER Working Papers 5451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Steven D. Levitt, 1998.
"Juvenile Crime and Punishment,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1156-1185, December.
- Witte, Ann D & Tauchen, Helen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 155-67.
- Ann Dryden Witte & Helen Tauchen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 4794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995.
"Crime and Social Interactions,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- James Heckman, 1997. "Instrumental Variables: A Study of Implicit Behavioral Assumptions Used in Making Program Evaluations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 441-462.
- Steven D. Levitt, 1995.
"Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Policeon Crime,"
NBER Working Papers
4991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-90, June.
- W. Kip Viscusi, 1986. "Market Incentives for Criminal Behavior," NBER Chapters, in: The Black Youth Employment Crisis, pages 301-351 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1996. "On Using Linear Regressions in Welfare Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(4), pages 478-86, October.
- Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
- Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 2001. "How Large are Human-Capital Externalities? Evidence from Compulsory-Schooling Laws," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 9-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Tauchen, Helen & Witte, Ann Dryden & Griesinger, Harriet, 1994. "Criminal Deterrence: Revisiting the Issue with a Birth Cohort," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 399-412, August.
- Bekker, Paul A, 1994. "Alternative Approximations to the Distributions of Instrumental Variable Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 657-81, May.
This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8605. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.