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
Date Written: March 12, 2019
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: Suggested Citation