Can governments reduce violent crime by increasing education, and if so, under what conditions?These questions are of significant policy relevance since many low- and middle-income countries experience high rates of violent crime, contrasting with the long-term decline in armed conflict and common claims that we are living in the most peaceful time in history.
This project has the triple ambition of theory development, data collection, and empirical analysis. It has two key objectives:
1. To analyze how different dimensions of education most notably investment in education, school attendance, education quality, and educational inequality? affect violent crime.
2. To examine the conditions that influence political actors to promote and strengthen education policies in order improve individual security.
Since the last report, project participants have continued collecting data about compulsory education reforms at the global level, and we expect to finish this endeavour by the end of this year. We also continue collecting data on education and crime in Brazil and Mexico, while we have finished the data collection process for our study in Colombia and our systematic review on prior research on the crime-reducing effect of education.
We have started the data analysis for our study on Colombia and the systematic review. We have also written the several section of the systematic review. We plan to finish a first draft of this paper by the end of this year, and will present the paper at the 2022 ISA conference.
Project participants, Gleditsch, Rivera and Zarate-Tenorio have published an article in the Journal of Development Studies, entitled "Can Education Reduce Violent Crime? Evidence from Mexico before and after the Drug War Onset"
Can governments reduce violent crime by increasing education? Violent crime is one of the most severe threats to SDG #16 to promote peaceful and inclusive societies. Such crime is rife: the annual average of intentional homicides in non-war states accounted for 377,000 deaths from 2007 to 2012 (The Geneva Declaration Report (2015)). From the point of departure that education is key for societal development, we investigate whether governments can reduce violent crime by increasing education. In sharp contrast to previous research exclusively focused on school attendance, we propose a disaggregated approach and consider whether and how education investment, -attendance, -quality, and -inequality can help reduce violent crime and improve individual security. Using advanced methods of data analysis and a natural experiment, we will perform cross-country and within-case statistical analyses to assess whether education can cause a reduction in violent crime. We complement statistical analyses with qualitative case studies aimed at understanding the conditions influencing government decisions to implement education policies as a response to public insecurity. The project includes 5 researchers from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) – the host institution – and partners in Colombia (Universidad Sergio Arboleda, Colombia) and the UK (Essex University), all of whom have proven and complementary strengths in terms of thematic substance, methodological skills, and expertise on specific cases. The broader impacts of this project include scientifically grounded recommendations for policy makers and non-government actors interested in education and peace promotion, including Save the Children, UNESCO, UNICEF, and USAID. Expected outputs include 8 to 10 articles, an edited book, a dataset on compulsory education reforms, 3 workshops, 2 policy briefs, and 2 podcast episodes accessible in different languages.
FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren