Repeating 8th Grade Increases Likelihood of a Criminal Conviction
In Louisiana, students denied promotion because of low English and math test scores were more likely to be convicted of violent crimes by the time they reached 25.
Education policies affect the academic and social skills of young adults, thereby influencing not only their earning potential but also their civic engagement, health behaviors, and criminal activity later in life. Measuring the impact of specific policies is challenging. In The Effect of Grade Retention on Adult Crime: Evidence from a Test-based Promotion Policy (NBER Working Paper No. 25384), Ozkan Eren, Michael F. Lovenheim, and Naci H. Mocan find that a Louisiana policy of retaining students in eighth grade based on their sub-standard test scores in English and math increases the likelihood of their being convicted of a crime by age 25. The researchers find a 58 percent increase, in particular, of the likelihood of being convicted of a violent crime.
Explaining Why Investors Hold Sovereign Bonds with Default Risk
While previous research has explored the relationship between years of schooling and crime, there is less evidence on how specific education policies affect the long-run likelihood of criminal activity. This study focuses on a 1998 Louisiana education reform measure that calls for keeping students back in eighth grade if they fail to reach certain test score levels in English and math. Louisiana was a pioneer in this grade-retention "accountability" policy. Sixteen states, as well as many large school districts across the country, now have end-of-year exams that help determine whether students are promoted to the next grade level.
— Jay Fitzgerald
The Digest is not copyrighted and may be reproduced freely with appropriate attribution of source.