Western University EconomicsWestern Social Science

Social Benefits of Human Capital

Social Benefits of Human Capital

1. Education and Crime

Across countries and over time, most measures of crime are decreasing in educational attainment. In a series of papers, Lance Lochner has developed an economic model aimed at understanding the inter-dependent decisions to attend school, commit crime, and work. This theory emphasizes the importance of schooling and early family investments in improving labor market opportunities, which then reduces incentives to engage in crime. Lochner and Enrico Moretti empirically estimate the causal effects of increased educational attainment on adult male crime, arrest, and incarceration rates using changes in compulsory schooling ages as an instrumental variable for schooling attainment.

Related Publications and Working Papers:

Cano-Urbina, Javier and Lance Lochner, "The Effect of Education and School Quality on Female Crime" (CHCP Working Paper No. 2016-3), 2016.

Lochner, Lance, "Education Policy and Crime" (CIBC Working Paper No. 2010-2), 2010.

Lochner, Lance, "Education and Crime," in E. Baker, P. Peterson, and B. McGraw (eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education, Vol. 2, Oxford: Elsevier, 2010. (Reprinted in D. Brewer and P. McEwan (eds.), Economics of Education, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2010.)

Lochner, Lance, "Education, Work, and Crime: A Human Capital Approach," International Economic Review, 45 (3) August 2004: 811-843. (Reprinted in I. Ehrlich and Z. Liu, eds., The Economics of Crime, Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006.)

Lochner, Lance and Enrico Moretti, "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, 94(1), March 2004: 155-189. (Reprinted in C. Belfield, eds., Modern Classics in the Economics of Education, Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006.)

Press References:

"Local Community Colleges Offer Healthy Returns for Students and Society, Study Says," Los Angeles Times Daily Pilot, April 9, 2016.

"Arne Duncan’s Proposal to Redirect Incarceration Funds to Education Is Right on the Money," Johanna Wald, Huffington Post, October 9, 2015.

"High School Made You a Better Person," Michael McCullough, Huffpost Education, June 28, 2015.

"High School Made You A Better Person," Michael McCullough, Huffington Post, June 6, 2015.

"Spending More on Public Education is Well Worth It," Noah Smith, Chicago Tribune, January 26, 2015.

"Throw More Money at Education," Noah Smith, BloombergView, January 23, 2015.

"DC Voucher Program Deserved to be Saved," Michael Q. McShane, The Hill, June 25, 2012.

Lance Lochner discusses the effects of education on crime, health, and democracy with Doug Henwood on "Behind the News", February 5, 2011.

"Spending more on education and private security are cost-effective ways of cutting crime," The Economist, April 8, 2010.


2. Non-Production Benefits of Education

Education offers many benefits beyond higher wages and employment. In a chapter for volume 4 of the Handbook of the Economics of Education, Lance Lochner discusses recent empirical evidence on the effects of education on crime, health/mortality, and citizenship. The chapter also discusses theoretical frameworks used to interpret this evidence.

Related Publications and Working Papers:

Lochner, Lance, "Non-Production Benefits of Education: Crime, Health, and Good Citizenship" (CIBC Working Paper No. 2010-7), 2010.