The Effect of Education and School Quality on Female Crime

Type Report
Title The Effect of Education and School Quality on Female Crime
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
This paper estimates the effects of educational attainment and school quality on
crime among American women. Using changes in compulsory schooling laws as instruments,
we estimate significant effects of schooling attainment on the probability
of incarceration using Census data from 1960-1980. Using data from the 1960-90 Uniform
Crime Reports, we also estimate that increases in average schooling levels reduce
arrest rates for violent and property crime but not white collar crime. The estimated
reductions in crime for women are smaller in magnitude than comparable estimates for
men; however, the effects for women are larger in percentage terms (relative to baseline
crime rates). Our results suggest small and mixed direct effects of school quality (as
measured by pupil-teacher ratios, term length, and teacher salaries) on incarceration
and arrests. Finally, we show that the effects of education on crime for women is unlikely
to be due to changes in labor market opportunities and may be more related to
changes in marital opportunities and family formation.

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