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Education, Work, and Crime: Theory and Evidence

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  • Lochner, L.

Abstract

This paper develops and empirically examines a dynamic model of decisions to work, invest in human capital, and commit crime. By making all three activities endogenous, the model makes a number of new and interesting contributions to the study of crime. First, the model explains why older, more intelligent, and more educated workers tend to commit less of some property crimes than others. Second, the model is useful for analyzing the impacts of education, training, and work subsidies on criminal behavior. Third, unobserved age differences in on-the-job skill investment explain why wages and crime are more negatively correlated at older ages. Fourth, the model predicts a rise in youth crime should accompany the recent rise in returns to skills. Finally, the model suggests that law enforcement policies increase education, training and labor supply, while reducing criminal activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Lochner, L., 1999. "Education, Work, and Crime: Theory and Evidence," RCER Working Papers 465, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  • Handle: RePEc:roc:rocher:465
    as

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    File URL: http://rcer.econ.rochester.edu/RCERPAPERS/rcer_465.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Heckman, James J & Lochner, Lance & Taber, Christopher, 1998. "Tax Policy and Human-Capital Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 293-297, May.
    2. Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1156-1185, December.
    3. John Cawley & Karen Conneely & James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1996. "Cognitive Ability, Wages, and Meritocracy," NBER Working Papers 5645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. F. Thomas Juster, 1975. "Education, Income, and Human Behavior," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number just75-1, June.
    5. John Bound & Richard B. Freeman, 1992. "What Went Wrong? The Erosion of Relative Earnings and Employment Among Young Black Men in the 1980s," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 201-232.
    6. 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.
    7. Lance Lochner, 2007. "Individual Perceptions of the Criminal Justice System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 444-460, March.
    8. Dan Usher, 1997. "Education as a Deterrent to Crime," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(2), pages 367-384, May.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Richard B. Freeman & Harry J. Holzer, 1986. "The Black Youth Employment Crisis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free86-1, June.
    12. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
    13. 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.
    14. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-791, October.
    15. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    EDUCATION ; CRIMES ; WORK;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General

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