NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Wandering Astray: Teenagers' Choices of Schooling and Crime

Chao Fu, Nicolás Grau, Jorge Rivera

NBER Working Paper No. 26858
Issued in March 2020
NBER Program(s):Economics of Education, Law and Economics, Labor Studies, Public Economics

We build and estimate a dynamic model of teenagers' choices of schooling and crime, incorporating four factors that may contribute to the different routes taken by different teenagers: heterogeneous endowments, unequal opportunities, uncertainties about one's own ability, and contemporaneous shocks. We estimate the model using administrative panel data from Chile that link school records with juvenile criminal records. Counterfactual policy experiments suggest that, for teenagers with disadvantaged backgrounds, interventions that combine mild improvement in their schooling opportunities with free tuition (by adding 22 USD per enrollee-year to the existing voucher) would lead to an 11% decrease in the fraction of those ever arrested by age 18 and a 17% increase in the fraction of those consistently enrolled throughout primary and secondary education.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26858

 
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