The positive externality of education on crime: Insights from Sub-Saharan Africa

Asante, Gabriel ORCID: and Bartha, Attila ORCID: (2022) The positive externality of education on crime: Insights from Sub-Saharan Africa. Cogent Social Sciences, 8 (1). pp. 1-24. DOI

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Az open access megjelenés a Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem támogatásával valósult meg. Open access was implemented with the support of Corvinus University of Budapest.


Although researchers have investigated the association between education and crime, few studies have studied Sub-Saharan Africa, which has the lowest rate of youth enrolled in high school. Notwithstanding, some countries are paying attention to high school education, whereby specific policies often termed “cost elimination” are designed to facilitate free education. At the micro-to-micro level, it is argued that enrolling and completing high school reduces the rate of criminal engagement. Against this backdrop, we investigate the effect of high school enrolment on the crime rate using macro-to-macro-level panel data about Sub-Saharan Africa countries from 2003 to 2018. Using theft and homicide rates as proxies for property and violent crime, respectively, our results show that an increase in enrolment has a significant negative effect on property crime. We find no evidence of a significant effect on violent crime. When addressing endogeneity bias using cost elimination as an instrument for enrolment, we find that the magnitude of the negative effect on the rate of theft is significantly greater and robust than the baseline estimates. These findings support the assumption that interventions that support access to education improve social structures and have the additional benefit of reducing the rate of theft, giving credence to social support theory. In a region where a majority of theft is committed by youth without a high school education, policymakers need to make concerted efforts to raise participation in high school as one of the means of reducing crime, rather than focusing exclusively on crime control.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:7227
Deposited By: MTMT SWORD
Deposited On:01 Mar 2022 10:45
Last Modified:28 Mar 2022 13:26

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