Policing, Schooling and Human Capital Accumulation

CAEPR Working Paper No. 024-2015

36 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2016 Last revised: 10 Mar 2016

Date Written: December 1, 2015


A substantial body of empirical and policy literature argues that greater investment in schools can be a powerful tool against criminality and violence. On the other hand, recent work has demonstrated that low levels of public safety can have serious detrimental effects on educational outcomes. This paper develops a model to analyze the roles that investments in education and public safety have for student's educational attainment, and focuses on exploring the optimal balance between the two public programs. The model analyzes individual decisions to acquire violence related skills ("street capital") at the expense of human capital accumulation in a setting where the former can serve to protect one’s property or expropriate that of others. Therefore, if the level of public safety, which helps prevent violent confrontations, is low, the incentives to study will also be lower. Moreover, the agents who accumulate more human capital and hence are more productive suffer a comparative disadvantage in exerting violence because their opportunity cost of doing so is higher. The paper finds, therefore, that if investments in public education increase the productivity spread between adult agents of different ability, the incentives to study might further decrease and lead to a lower output, showing that the benefits of schooling can only be seized if they are complemented with enough public safety.

Keywords: Street Capital, Human Capital, Public Education, Policing, Property Rights

JEL Classification: D74, D78, E24, I26, K42

Suggested Citation

Lopez Cruz, Ivan, Policing, Schooling and Human Capital Accumulation (December 1, 2015). CAEPR Working Paper No. 024-2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2714365 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2714365

Ivan Lopez Cruz (Contact Author)

Sabanci University ( email )

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Istanbul, 34956
216 483 9337 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics