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Youth crime and education expansion

  • Machin Stephen
  • Marie Olivier
  • Vujić Sunčica

    (ROA rm)

We present new evidence on the causal impact of education on crime, by consideringa large expansion of the UK post-compulsory education system that occurred in thelate 1980s and early 1990s. The education expansion raised education levels acrossthe whole education distribution and, in particular for our analysis, at the bottom endenabling us to develop an instrumental variable strategy to study the crime-educationrelationship. At the same time as the education expansion, youth crime fell, revealinga significant cross-cohort relationship between crime and education. The causalcrime reducing effect of education is estimated to be negative and significant, andconsiderably bigger in (absolute) magnitude than ordinary least squares estimates.The education boost also significantly impacted other productivity related economicvariables (qualification attainment and wages), demonstrating that the incapacitationeffect of additional time spent in school is not the sole driver of the results.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) in its series ROA Research Memorandum with number 009.

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Date of creation: 2012
Handle: RePEc:unm:umaror:2012009
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