Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Research Papers in Economics,
Stockholm University, Department of Economics

No 2015:6: 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: Institute for Evaluation of Labor Market and Education Policy (IFAU), Postal: Box 513 , 751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Hans Grönqvist: Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University, Postal: SOFI, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Caroline Hall: IFAU and Uppsala Center for Labor Studies (UCLS), Postal: Box 513 , 751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Jonas Vlachos: Department of Economics, Stockholm University and the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 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

55 pages, July 13, 2015

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