Research Shows That Schooling Can Prevent Crime Among 18-24 Year Olds

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Research shows that schooling can prevent crime amongst 16-18 year olds. (Anderson, 2010) Anderson (2010) argues that the mechanism through which schooling affects crime is by removing the teenager from the places where they might commit crimes and reducing the time they have to commit crimes. Teenagers have an allotted amount of time each day which can be consumed by formal education. Since teenagers would have less time to be in crime inducing locations, one should expect to see a decrease in crime. One way to increase the amount of time students spend in school is by raising the legal minimum dropout age. Most states have a legal minimum dropout age between sixteen and seventeen years. A student dropping out before the legal minimum…show more content…
Raising the minimum dropout age to 18 reduces the arrest rate by 10.27 for every 1000 sixteenth through eighteenth year olds. There was also a 9.9% decrease in property crime and 22.5% reduction in violent crimes. Anderson (2010) concludes that the “results are consistent with an incapacitation effect of schooling.”
There were a few issues with the evidence but previous research shows that their effect on the results is minimal. One of the key problems is determining a reliable proxy for youth criminal behavior. Anderson (2010) uses reported criminal activity as the proxy but it is insufficient. Youth could be committing crimes which are not reported or discovered. If one were to use reported criminal activity as a proxy for youth criminal behavior, one has the problem of concluding that youth criminal behavior is decreasing when youth are simply improving their ability to evade legal authorities. Research by Lochner and Moretti (2004) is used as evidence that the discrepancy should not be a problem. There appears to be a high correlation between youth criminal behavior and reported criminal activity. Although we might not know the exact level of criminal behavior, a decrease in reported criminal activity is a good indicator of a decrease in youth criminal behavior.
The second major issue with the evidence provided is basing reported crime rates on self reported data. Each source of data utilized various methods of collecting data
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