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Examination of the Relationship between Per Pupil Expenditures and Crime Rates

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Over the last fifty years, education funding has been litigated and debated in the United States. In an effort to uncover more into the effects of state dollars on education,

Over the last fifty years, education funding has been litigated and debated in the United States. In an effort to uncover more into the effects of state dollars on education, I used the guiding research question: did differences in state-level education funding trends in the 1990s affect crime rates? With the help of literature on changing education-funding trends, I selected the timeframe of 1990-1995 because some states and jurisdictions increased their funding while others decreased it. For my research, I outlined the independent variable of per pupil expenditures in order to focus directly on the dollars that impact the individual student, and the dependent variables of burglary, robbery, and motor vehicle theft crime rates because juveniles typically commit these crimes. Unemployment rates and household income served as confounding variables, as these economic factors have been proven to affect crime rates. Using the difference-in-difference method, I was able to test the effect of the implementation of a treatment, increased education funding, on my control and treatment group over the 1990-1995-time period. After running a regression on each of my selected juvenile-specific crime rates, I found my results to be inconclusive; however, by factoring in more confounding variables, I believe this quasi-experimental approach can be repeated to find more solid results.

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  • 2018-05