Dennison, Christopher R. (2019). The crime-reducing benefits of a college degree: Evidence from a nationally representative U.S. sample. Criminal Justice Studies.
This study uses data from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to examine the robustness of the individual-level association between completing a college degree and involvement in crime in young adulthood. A concern in the study of education and crime is that the relationship might be spurious due to well-known background characteristics that predict both completing college and engaging in crime, such as prior delinquency and family socioeconomic status. To account for this, propensity score weighting and matching techniques are used so that differences in these characteristics are similar between individuals with and without a degree. Results show that compared to those with a high school diploma, attaining a bachelor?s degree is negatively associated with crime. After accounting for selection into higher education, the association between completing college and crime is attenuated in size, though still statistically significant. Findings are discussed in the context of current college enrollment and completion trends in the U.S.
Criminal Justice Studies
Dennison, Christopher R.
June 13, 2019