IZA DP No. 9248: Bad Behavior: Delinquency, Arrest and Early School Leaving
In this paper we investigate the effects of delinquency and arrest on school leaving using information on males from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997. We use a multivariate mixed proportional hazard framework in order to account for common unobserved confounders and reverse causality. Our key finding is that delinquency as well as arrest leads to early school leaving. Further investigation reveals that the effect of delinquency is largely driven by income generating crimes, and the effect of both income generating crime and arrest are greater when onset occurs at younger ages. These findings are consistent with a criminal capital accumulation mechanism. On the basis of our sample, we show that taking into account the proportion of young men affected by delinquency and arrest, that the overall reduction in education due to delinquency is at least as large as the reduction due to arrest. This highlights the need for crime prevention efforts to extend beyond youth who come into contact with the justice system.