• Open Access

The Crime Reducing Effect of Education

Authors

  • Stephen Machin,

    1. University College London and Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics ROA
    2. Maastricht University and Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics London School of Economics
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  • Olivier Marie,

    1. University College London and Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics ROA
    2. Maastricht University and Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics London School of Economics
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  • Sunčica Vujić

    1. University College London and Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics ROA
    2. Maastricht University and Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics London School of Economics
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  •  Corresponding author: Sunčica Vujić, Department of Management, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK. Email: s.vujic@lse.ac.uk.

  • This is a heavily revised version of Machin et al. (2010). Machin and Vujić thank the Economic and Social Research Council for funding under research grant RES-000-22-0568. Marie thanks the Executive Research Agency of the European Union for funding under the Marie Curie IEF grant number 252572. The support of the Office for National Statistics (and General Register Office for Scotland and Northern Ireland Statistical Research Agency where appropriate), CCSR and ESRC/JISC Census of Population Programme is gratefully acknowledged. The authors alone are responsible for the interpretation of the data. Census output is Crown copyright and is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland. Useful comments were received from Brian Bell, Lance Lochner, two referees and participants in numerous seminars and conferences.

  • Correction Note: This article was first published online on the 12th of May 2011, under a subscription publication licence. The article has since been made OnlineOpen, and the copyright line and licence statement was therefore updated in August 2014.

Abstract

In this article, we study the crime reducing potential of education, presenting causal statistical estimates based upon a law that changed the compulsory school leaving age in England and Wales. We frame the analysis in a regression-discontinuity setting and uncover significant decreases in property crime from reductions in the proportion of people with no educational qualifications and increases in the age of leaving school that resulted from the change in the law. The findings show that improving education can yield significant social benefits and can be a key policy tool in the drive to reduce crime.

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