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Staying out of trouble? Effect of high school career counseling on crime

Stephen Barnes, Louis-Philippe Beland, Swarup Joshi and Barton Willage ()

Economics of Education Review, 2022, vol. 91, issue C

Abstract: Human capital-based models of crime imply that increasing educational attainment will decrease crime. A growing body of empirical work has supported this hypothesis, however the evidence is still limited. We investigate if a high school career coaching program, Career Compass of Louisiana, decreases youth crime during and after high school. Career Compass provides students counseling services regarding college admissions, financial aid, and career exploration. We use student-level administrative education and crime convictions data and a difference-in-differences empirical strategy to test for an education-crime relationship among high school seniors. While existing research shows the Career Compass program increases post-secondary enrollment, we do not find that this increase in educational attainment results in decreased criminal activity. We find precise and robust null effects of this program on crime. Our findings suggest that policymakers and researchers may need more targeted interventions and should be cautious in assuming interventions that increase human capital alone will also impact other outcomes such as crime.

Keywords: Education; Human capital; Career coaching; Crime; Difference-in-differences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 I26 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2022.102326

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