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Why does education reduce crime?

Bell, Brian, Costa, Rui and Machin, Stephen (2022) Why does education reduce crime? Journal of Political Economy, 130 (3). 732 - 765. ISSN 0022-3808

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Identification Number: 10.1086/717895


We provide a unifying empirical framework to study why crime reductions occurred due to a sequence of state-level dropout age reforms enacted between 1980 and 2010 in the United States. Because the reforms changed the shape of crime-age profiles, they generate both a short-term incapacitation effect and a more sustained crime-reducing effect. In contrast to previous research looking at earlier US education reforms, we find that reform-induced crime reduction does not arise primarily from education improvements. Decomposing short-and long-run effects, the observed longer-run effect for the post-1980 education reforms is primarily attributed to dynamic incapacitation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The University of Chicago
Divisions: Economics
Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2021 13:15
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2024 06:15

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