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The Academic Effects of Chronic Exposure to Neighborhood Violence

Amy Schwartz (), Agustina Laurito, Johanna Lacoe, Patrick Sharkey and Ingrid Gould Ellen
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Agustina Laurito: New York University
Johanna Lacoe: Mathematica Policy Research
Patrick Sharkey: New York University
Ingrid Gould Ellen: New York University

No 195, Center for Policy Research Working Papers from Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Abstract: We estimate the causal effect of repeated exposure to violent crime on test scores in New York City. We use two distinct empirical strategies; value-added models linking student performance on standardized exams to violent crimes on a student’s residential block, and a regression discontinuity approach that identifies the acute effect of an additional crime exposure within a one-week window. Exposure to violent crime reduces academic performance. Value added models suggest the average effect is very small; approximately -0.01 standard deviations in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. RD models suggest a larger effect, particularly among children previously exposed. The marginal acute effect is as large as -0.04 standard deviations for students with two or more prior exposures. Among these, it is even larger for black students, almost a 10th of a standard deviation. We provide credible causal evidence that repeated exposure to neighborhood violence harms test scores, and this negative effect increases with exposure.

Keywords: Neighborhood Effects; Crime; Academic Performance; Racial Disparities; Educational Outcomes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 I21 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 47 pages
Date: 2016-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu and nep-ure
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