Crime Exposure and Educational Outcomes in Mexico
Driven by drug-trade related crimes, homicide levels in Mexico have dramatically increased since 2007. This study examines the effect of students' exposure to crime on educational outcomes. Using school level data, a panel of Mexico's primary and secondary schools from 2006 to 2012 is constructed to analyse the effect of exposure to local homicides on standardised test scores and grade failure rates. The results show that an increase of one unit in the number of homicides per 10,000 inhabitants reduces average standardised test scores between 0.0035 and 0.0142 standard deviations. This effect is larger in secondary schools, grows stronger if the homicide occurs closer to the examination date, and is relatively stable when using either total homicides or drug-trade related homicides to measure crime exposure. Higher homicides rates are also associated with an increase in the grade failure rate. It is proposed that the negative effects of crime exposure are partly due to a reduction in the number of contact hours, where students do not compensate for this by studying more outside of the school. By having a negative impact on educational outcomes, early exposure to homicides has potential long term consequences since it may affect educational attainment levels and future income streams.
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