Compulsory High Schooling, Over-Crowding and Violent Youth Crime - Evidence from a Recent Constitutional Amendment in Brazil

48 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2017 Last revised: 2 Apr 2019

See all articles by Marislei Nishijima

Marislei Nishijima

Institute of International Relations - University of Sao Paulo (USP)

Sarmistha Pal

University of Surrey; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: March 12, 2019

Abstract

We use a difference-in-difference design to estimate the effects of high schooling on violent youth crime indices in all 5560 Brazilian municipalities, using the 2009 Constitutional Amendment 59 as a natural experiment. The Amendment introduced compulsory high schooling of 15-17 year olds and in line with much of the literature we expected a significant crime reduction after the adoption of the Amendment. We, however, find that the Amendment generated only a small and weak crime reduction effect, if at all. We show that the incapacitation effect associated with compulsory high schooling was weakened by overcrowding in classes in the treated municipalities after the Amendment. Relative to the richer areas, however, violent youth crime rose in treated poorer municipalities, where the worsening school quality because of class size increase outweighed the incapacitation effect after the Amendment. In other words, the crime reduction effects of compulsory high schooling laws depend crucially on how it affects class size and school quality, especially in emerging economies.

Keywords: Violent youth crime; Constitutional Amendment 59; Compulsory high Schooling; Overcrowding in classrooms; Night schooling; School quality; Difference in Difference; Endogenous treatment; Brazil

JEL Classification: H40, I25, O12

Suggested Citation

Nishijima, Marislei and Pal, Sarmistha, Compulsory High Schooling, Over-Crowding and Violent Youth Crime - Evidence from a Recent Constitutional Amendment in Brazil (March 12, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3046127 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3046127

Marislei Nishijima

Institute of International Relations - University of Sao Paulo (USP) ( email )

Av. Prof. L├║cio Martins Rodrigues, s/n, travessas
Cidade Universitária
Sao Paulo, SP 05508-020
Brazil
1130910526 (Phone)
1130910526 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://marislei.iri.usp.br/en/home-2/

Sarmistha Pal (Contact Author)

University of Surrey ( email )

Stag Hill
Guildford, England GU2 7XH
United Kingdom
01483 683995 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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