Do Schools Cause Crime in Neighborhoods? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Growth of Charter Schools in Philadelphia

22 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2015

See all articles by John MacDonald

John MacDonald

University of Pennsylvania

Nancy Nicosia

RAND Corporation

Date Written: August 6, 2015

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of schools on crime in urban neighborhoods. The change in the public educational landscape with the rise of charter schools in Philadelphia provides a natural experiment to examine the effects that school locations have on crime rates. In this paper, we use data on the location and opening of charter and public schools to estimate the effect that school openings had on neighborhood crime patterns between 1998 and 2010. We estimate the change in crime counts in areas surrounding schools before and after their opening compared to areas where schools are always open. We find that crime in general goes down when schools open. The findings suggest that school locations play a minimal role in neighborhood crime production in Philadelphia.

Keywords: Crime; Schools; Charter

JEL Classification: H00, I2, K42

Suggested Citation

MacDonald, John and Nicosia, Nancy, Do Schools Cause Crime in Neighborhoods? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Growth of Charter Schools in Philadelphia (August 6, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2641096 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2641096

John MacDonald (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

483 McNeil Building
3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-646-3623 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.crim.upenn.edu/faculty_macdonald.htm

Nancy Nicosia

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States
310-393-0411 (Phone)

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