Better Schools, Less Crime?

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Better Schools, Less Crime?

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Title: Better Schools, Less Crime?
Author: Deming, David James
Citation: Deming, D. J. 2011. “Better Schools, Less Crime?” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 126 (4) (November 1): 2063–2115. doi:10.1093/qje/qjr036.
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Abstract: I estimate the impact of attending a first-choice middle or high school on adult crime, using data from public school choice lotteries in Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district (CMS). Seven years after random assignment, lottery winners had been arrested for fewer serious crimes and had spent fewer days incarcerated. The gain in school quality as measured by peer and teacher inputs was equivalent to moving from one of the lowest-ranked schools to one at the district average. The reduction in crime comes largely from years after enrollment in the preferred school is complete. The impacts are concentrated among high-risk youth, who commit about 50% less crime across several different outcome measures and scalings of crime by severity. I find suggestive evidence that school quality explains more of the impact in high school, whereas peer effects are more important in middle school.
Published Version: 10.1093/qje/qjr036
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at
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