Compulsory High Schooling, Over-Crowding and Violent Youth Crime - New Evidence from Brazilian Municipalities
44 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2017 Last revised: 18 Mar 2020
Date Written: March 17, 2020
Does compulsory schooling necessarily lower violent youth crimes? To answer this question we take advantage of the 2009 Brazilian Constitutional Amendment 59, that introduced compulsory high schooling of 15-17-year-olds, as a natural experiment. Difference-in-difference estimates were used to study the effect of the Amendment on selected crime indicators among treated municipalities that experienced an increase in 15-19 enrolment, the cohort including the target 15-17 age group, over 2010-13 relative to 2009. The treatment effect on youth crime is found to be small, especially for the crime rates. In the absence of any improvement in income/employment of 15-17 year olds in treated municipalities, incapacitation effect of compulsory schooling is the only explanation, though it was weakened by overcrowding in day and night schools after 2009. Further, unlike the richer municipalities, violent youth crime rates rose in poorer treated municipalities, where the increased class size after 2009 has also been associated with worsening school quality measures. Ours is the first paper to document that the crime reduction effects of compulsory high schooling crucially depend on whether/how it affects class size and school quality especially in less promising jurisdictions.
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: Suggested Citation