Wandering Astray: Teenagers' Choices of Schooling and Crime

Produced by: 
National Bureau of Economic Research
Available from: 
March 2020
Paper author(s): 
Chao Fu
Nicolás Grau
Jorge Rivera
Topic: 
Education - Health
Year: 
2020

We build and estimate a dynamic model of teenagers' choices of schooling and crime, incorporating four factors that may contribute to the different routes taken by different teenagers: heterogeneous endowments, unequal opportunities, uncertainties about one's own ability, and contemporaneous shocks. We estimate the model using administrative panel data from Chile that link school records with juvenile criminal records. Counterfactual policy experiments suggest that, for teenagers with disadvantaged backgrounds, interventions that combine mild improvement in their schooling opportunities with free tuition (by adding 22 USD per enrolleeyear to the existing voucher) would lead to an 11% decrease in the fraction of those ever arrested by age 18 and a 17% increase in the fraction of those consistently enrolled throughout primary and secondary education.

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