The Effect of Quality of Education on Crime: Evidence from Colombia

31 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2017

See all articles by Andres Giraldo

Andres Giraldo

Southern Methodist University; Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Manini Ojha

Southern Methodist University (SMU)

Date Written: October 27, 2017


This paper evaluates the impact of quality of education on violence and crime using student performances on a mandatory examination as the measure of quality. The paper exploits transfers of funds from central government to municipalities for investments in education as a source of exogenous variation and finds that better education quality has a negative impact on economic crimes such as kidnapping rates, rate of theft on persons and presence of illegal armed groups. The findings are consistent with an opportunity cost effect of education, that is, high quality education increases expectations of being absorbed by the labor market and discourages engaging in criminal activities. Results also point to perhaps a pacifying effect of education such that improvement of education quality generates less violent environments, promotes social and political stability. The results are found to be robust to a number of econometric concerns and different measures of quality of education.

Keywords: Quality of Education, Crime, Conflict, Spatial Instruments

JEL Classification: D74, I25, O11

Suggested Citation

Giraldo, Andrés Felipe and Ojha, Manini, The Effect of Quality of Education on Crime: Evidence from Colombia (October 27, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Andrés Felipe Giraldo (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University ( email )

Dallas, TX 75275
United States

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana ( email )

Carrera 7 No. 40-62
Bogotá DC

HOME PAGE: http://

Manini Ojha

Southern Methodist University (SMU) ( email )

6212 Bishop Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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