Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2011:20: The effect of education policy on crime: an intergenerational perspective

Costas Meghir (), Mårten Palme () and Marieke Schnabel ()
Additional contact information
Costas Meghir: Department of Economics, University College London, Postal: Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Mårten Palme: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Marieke Schnabel: Department of Economics, University College London, Postal: Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK

Abstract: A number of studies have shown that education reforms extending compulsory schooling reduce criminal behavior of those affected by the reform. We consider the effects of a major Swedish educational reform on crime by exploiting its staggered implementation across Sweden. We first show that the reform reduced crime rates for the generation directly affected by the reform. We then show that the benefits extended to the next generation with large reductions in the crime rates of the children of those affected. The effect operates only through the father and points in the direction of improved parenting rather than resources.

Keywords: Comprehensive school; economics of crime; returns to education; returns to human capital

JEL-codes: I20; I21; I28; K42; N34

57 pages, November 23, 2011

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