Friday, August 23, 2013

Raising the minimum dropout age leads to more in-school crime

Over the years, the minimum dropout age has been raised to 18 in 21 states. Although these policy changes are promoted for their educational benefits, they have been shown to reduce crimes committed by youths in the affected age groups. However, an unintended consequence of increasing the minimum dropout age could be the displacement of crime from the streets to schools.

This study uses data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys to estimate the relationship between minimum dropout age laws and student victimization.

The results suggest that higher minimum dropout ages increase the likelihood that females and younger students report missing school for fear of their safety and younger students are more likely to report being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property. The results also yield some evidence that students are more likely to report being victims of in-school theft when the minimum dropout age is higher.

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