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Youth Crime and Education Expansion

  • Machin Stephen
  • Marie Olivier
  • Vujić Sunčica

    (METEOR)

We present new evidence on the causal impact of education on crime, by considering a largeexpansion of the UK post-compulsory education system that occurred in the late 1980s and early1990s. The education expansion raised education levels across the whole education distributionand, in particular for our analysis, at the bottom end enabling us to develop an instrumentalvariable strategy to study the crime-education relationship. At the same time as the educationexpansion, youth crime fell, revealing a significant cross-cohort relationship between crime andeducation. The causal crime reducing effect of education is estimated to be negative andsignificant, and considerably bigger in (absolute) magnitude than ordinary least squaresestimates. The education boost also significantly impacted other productivity related economicvariables (qualification attainment and wages), demonstrating that the incapacitation effect ofadditional time spent in school is not the sole driver of the results.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR) in its series Research Memorandum with number 037.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2012037
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  1. Stephen Machin & Olivier Marie & Sunčica Vujić, 2010. "The crime reducing effect of education," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28727, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Devereux, Paul J & Hart, Robert A, 2008. "Forced to be Rich? Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Britain," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2008-02, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  3. Lance Lochner, 2010. "Non-Production Benefits of Education: Crime, Health and Good Citizenship," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20107, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  4. Naci H. Mocan & Bulent Unel, 2011. "Skill-biased Technological Change, Earnings of Unskilled Workers, and Crime," NBER Working Papers 17605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jo Blanden & Stephen Machin, 2004. "Educational Inequality and the Expansion of UK Higher Education," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 230-249, 05.
  6. Steve Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Crime and economic incentives," IFS Working Papers W00/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-91, October.
  8. 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.
  9. Hjalmarsson, Randi, 2008. "Criminal justice involvement and high school completion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 613-630, March.
  10. 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.
  11. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2213-2229, December.
  12. Ricardo Sabates & Leon Feinstein, 2008. "Effects of government initiatives on youth crime," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 462-483, July.
  13. Devereux, Paul J. & Fan, Wen, 2011. "Earnings returns to the British education expansion," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1153-1166.
  14. Lance Lochner, 2004. "Education, Work, and Crime: A Human Capital Approach," NBER Working Papers 10478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Steven D. Levitt & Lance Lochner, 2001. "The Determinants of Juvenile Crime," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 327-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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