The Effect of Quality of Education on Crime: Evidence from Colombia
46 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2018
Date Written: November 2017
This paper evaluates the impact of quality of education on violence and crime. The paper exploits transfers of funds from the central government to municipalities for investments in education as a source of exogenous variation to identify the effect of education quality. It finds improvements in education quality have a negative impact on economic crimes such as rates of kidnapping and theft, as well as the presence of illegal armed groups. These findings are consistent with an opportunity cost effect of education, in which high quality education increases expectations of being absorbed by the labor market and discourages engagement in criminal activities. Results also point to a pacifying effect of education such that improvements in education quality generate less violent environments, and promote social and political stability. The results are robust to a number of econometric concerns and different measures of quality of education.
Keywords: Quality of Education, Crime, Conflict, Spatial Instruments, Shift-Share
JEL Classification: D74, I25, O11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation