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CEP discussion paper
Larrikin youth: new evidence on crime and schooling
Tony Beatton, Michael P. Kidd, Stephen Machin and Dipa Sarkar
November 2016
Paper No' CEPDP1456:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I2; K42

Tags: youth crime; schooling

This paper reports new evidence on the causal link between education and male youth crime using individual level state-wide administrative data for Queensland, Australia. Enactment of the Earning or Learning education reform of 2006, with a mandatory increase in minimum school leaving age, is used to identify a causal impact of schooling on male youth crime. The richness of the matched (across agency) individual level panel data enables the analysis to shed significant light on the extent to which the causal impact reflects incapacitation, or whether more schooling acts to reduce crime after youths have left compulsory schooling. The empirical analysis uncovers a significant incapacitation effect, as remaining in school for longer reduces crime whilst in school, but also a sizeable crime reducing impact of education for young men in their late teens and early twenties. We also carry out analysis by major crime type and differentiate between single and multiple offending behaviour. Crime reduction effects are concentrated in property crime and single crime incidence, rather than altering the behaviour of the recalcitrant persistent offender.

'Larrikin Youth: Crime and Queensland's Earning or Learning Reform', Tony Beatton, Michael P. Kidd, Stephen Machin and Dipanwita Sarkard, Labour Economics, November 2017