No. 9/2012: Student performance and imprisonment


This paper studies the relationship between education and crime. We exploit Norwegian register data on skills at the end of compulsory education at age 16, high school attainment, and detailed imprisonment data. We find that skills, as measured by GPA, have a strong diminishing effect on imprisonment. The result is robust to a range of model specifications, including school and neighborhood fixed effects and IV-estimations using the result from the external exit examination as an instrument for skills. The relationship is nonlinear and driven by individuals with skills below average. Even though there is a strong relationship between GPA and high school attainment, this does not seem to be the main mechanism for the effect of GPA on imprisonment. This result is also robust to a range of model specifications.
Keywords: imprisonment; crime; student achievement; high school education