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The contemporaneous effect of education on adolescent crime. Mechanisms and evidence from regional divides

Ylenia Brilli and Marco Tonello

No 41 JEL Classification: I28, J13, K42, R10, CHILD Working Papers Series from Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA

Abstract: We estimate the contemporaneous effect of education on adolescent crime by exploiting the implementation of a reform, which increased by one year the school leaving age in Italy. The identification comes from the within-year and within-age discontinuity in the enrollment and offending rates across cohorts, induced by the reform. Our results show a strong regional divide: a one percentage point increase in the enrollment rate reduces adolescent crime by 1.3 percent in the North of the country, while increasing it by 3.9 percent in the South. The crime reducing effect is driven by incapacitation and accumulation of human capital. The crime increasing effect mainly originates from the regions where organized crime is pervasive, and it is consistent with an insufficient enforcement of the reform and depressed economic conditions that discourage schooling investments.

Keywords: adolescent crime; school enrollment; regional divides. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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