Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wilcox, Virginia

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Economics


My dissertation examines how an increased minimum dropout age (MDA) affects juvenile crime not only in the community, but also in school. I first empirically estimate the magnitude of the impact of a higher MDA on high school enrollment. I then develop an economic model of crime that explains the relationship between an MDA and contemporaneous juvenile crime and empirically examine how a higher MDA affects juvenile crime both in the community and in school. I find that raising the MDA from 16 to 18 significantly increases school enrollment by 2.57%. Next, I find that raising the MDA to an age greater than 16 reduces crime in the community for individuals aged 16-to-18. Finally, I find that an MDA greater than 16 does not increase crime occurring in schools. These results indicate that increasing the MDA from 16 to 18 decreases community crime by 12% without affecting school crime. Although higher MDAs are primarily intended to increase the educational attainment for young adults, my findings highlight that a secondary impact is to reduce community crime.


138 pages




Northern Illinois University

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