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Does higher educational attainment imply less crime? Evidence from the Indian states

Bijoy Rakshit and Yadawananda Neog ()

Journal of Economic Studies, 2020, vol. 48, issue 1, 133-165

Abstract: Purpose - The primary purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate the impact of educational attainment on crime rates across 33 Indian states over the period 2001 to 2013. This paper also examines the role of various macroeconomic, socio-economic and demographic factors in determining the variation of crimes in India. Design/methodology/approach - First, this paper provides a representative theoretical model and discusses the possible relationship between crime and education. Second, the paper applies a dynamic panel data (DPD) model to extract more precise, unbiased and reliable estimates of the effect of education in abating different crime rates. The main advantage of using the dynamic panel model is to address the problem of endogeneity in some regressors and capture the time persistent effect of education on crime. Findings - Empirical findings reveal that a 1% increase in gross enrolment ratio leads to the reduction of total crime by 8%. However, a unique finding identifies a positive association between tertiary education and economic crime. This finding further goes against the general belief that criminals tend to be less educated than non-criminals. Practical implications - This paper recommends that instead of punishment and mandatory law enforcement for offenders, increase in government expenditure and different educational attainment ratios can go a long way to combat crime in India, which has posed a serious threat to the stability of society. Furthermore, utilizing the information on offenders' educational attainment in examining the crime rates can be a future research agenda for policymakers. Originality/value - This study contributes to the empirical debate of ‘crime-education nexus’ by examining the role of education on crime in India. This study is the first of its kind that focuses on the aspects of crime and education more recently and investigates the relationship between crime and education due to the recent changes in educational attainment ratios and crime rate.

Keywords: Crime; Education; Dynamic panel model; Gross enrolment ratio (GER) (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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