Dennison, C. R. (2020). Dropping out of college and dropping into crime. Justice Quarterly.
Although researchers have examined whether dropping out of high school is related to crime, very few have studied college dropouts. It has been argued that dropping out of high school leads to minimal changes in crime since dropouts were already delinquent before leaving school. Among college dropouts, however, individuals who select into college are conceivably least delinquent; therefore, dropping out might indeed represent a negative life course transition. Against this backdrop, data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health are used to examine the relationship between dropping out of college and changes in crime between adolescence and young adulthood. Most broadly, results show that dropping out of college is positively related to crime across the life course. This association is also moderated by one's propensity to complete college, whereby those most likely to attain a degree, but who ultimately drop out, exhibit the largest increases in crime.
Dennison, C. R.