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The Effect of Education and School Quality on Female Crime

Javier Cano-Urbina, Lance Lochner

NBER Working Paper No. 24061
Issued in November 2017
NBER Program(s):The Program on Children, The Education Program, The Labor Studies Program

This paper estimates the effects of educational attainment and school quality on crime among American women. Using changes in compulsory schooling laws as instruments, we estimate significant effects of schooling attainment on the probability of incarceration using Census data from 1960-1980. Using data from the 1960-90 Uniform Crime Reports, we also estimate that increases in average schooling levels reduce arrest rates for violent and property crime but not white collar crime. Our results suggest small and mixed direct effects of school quality (as measured by pupil-teacher ratios, term length, and teacher salaries) on incarceration and arrests. Finally, we show that the effects of education on crime for women are unlikely to be due to changes in labor market opportunities and may be more related to changes in marital opportunities and family formation.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24061

Published: Javier Cano-Urbina & Lance Lochner, 2019. "The Effect of Education and School Quality on Female Crime," Journal of Human Capital, vol 13(2), pages 188-235.

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