IZA DP No. 7228: School Starting Age and Crime
substantially extended version available as IZA DP#9279
This paper investigates the effects of school starting age on crime while relying on variation in school starting age induced by administrative rules; we exploit that Danish children typically start first grade in the calendar year they turn seven, which gives rise to a discontinuity in children's school starting age. Analyses are carried out using register-based Danish data. We find that higher age at school start lowers the propensity to commit crime, but that this reduction is caused by incapacitation while human capital accumulation is unaffected. Importantly, we also find that the individuals who benefit most from being old-for-grade are those with high latent abilities whereas those with low latent ability seem to be unaffected by being old-for-grade in school.