The Effect of Compulsory Engagement on Youth Crime

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 13/15

Date: 2015


Nikhil Jha


This paper examines the potential incapacitation effect on various categories of crime committed by youth offenders. I exploit exogenous variation generated by the increase in school-leaving age and compulsory education or work requirement in the state of New South Wales, Australia from 15 to 17. Using incidents of crime committed by offender of different age-group incorporates incapacitation effect on crimes that do not necessarily lead to arrests. Comparative Interrupted Time-Series analysis is used to model differential trend in crime using panel data extending several pre- and post-policy periods. Results show that the policy substantially reduced incidents of crime against property, particularly by male offenders.

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