Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

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

No 2015:15: Education and criminal behavior: insights from an expansion of upper secondary school

Olof Åslund (), Hans Grönqvist (), Caroline Hall () and Jonas Vlachos ()
Additional contact information
Olof Åslund: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Hans Grönqvist: SOFI, Stockholm University, Postal: Stockholm, Sweden
Caroline Hall: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Jonas Vlachos: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: We study the impact on criminal activity from a large scale Swedish reform of vocational upper secondary education, extending programs from two to three years and adding more general theoretical content. The reform directly concerns age groups where criminal activity is high and students who are highly overrepresented among criminal offenders. The nature of the reform and the rich administrative data allow us to shed light on several behavioral mechanisms. Our results show that the prolonged and more general education lead to a reduction in property crime, but no significant decrease in violent crime. The effect is mainly concentrated to the third year after enrollment, which suggests that being in school reduces the opportunities and/or inclinations to commit crime.

Keywords: Education; delinquency

JEL-codes: K42

49 pages, June 22, 2015

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