The Crime Reducing Effect of Education

38 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2010

See all articles by Stephen J. Machin

Stephen J. Machin

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics

Olivier Marie

London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

Suncica Vujic

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics

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Abstract

In this paper, we present evidence on empirical connections between crime and education, using various data sources from Britain. A robust finding is that criminal activity is negatively associated with higher levels of education. However, it is essential to ensure that the direction of causation flows from education to crime. Therefore, we identify the effect of education on participation in criminal activity using changes in compulsory school leaving age laws over time to account for the endogeneity of education. In this causal approach, for property crimes, the negative crime-education relationship remains strong and significant. The implications of these findings are unambiguous and clear. They show that improving education can yield significant social benefits and can be a key policy tool in the drive to reduce crime.

Keywords: crime, education, offenders

JEL Classification: I2, K42

Suggested Citation

Machin, Stephen J. and Marie, Olivier and Vujic, Suncica, The Crime Reducing Effect of Education. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5000, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1631135

Stephen J. Machin (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Olivier Marie

London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Suncica Vujic

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands
+31(0)551 3555 (Fax)

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