The University of Michigan’s Record summarizes the findings of the policy brief, which tracked the life outcomes of two groups of Michigan students from kindergarten through adulthood, based on how well the students’ elementary schools were funded.
The brief was written by Hyman, an assistant professor of economics at Amherst; E. Jason Baron of Duke University; and Brittany Vasquez of the University of Michigan. They used data from the Michigan Department of Education, Center for Educational Performance, National Student Clearinghouse and Michigan State Police. Among other findings, they determined that young people who attended better-funded schools were 15 percent less likely to be arrested by age 30, and that these reductions in crime alone saved more than enough money to make up for increases in school funding.
“[E]arly investments in children’s lives can prevent contact with the adult criminal justice system,” the researchers wrote. “Specifically, our results show that improving public schools can keep children on a path of increased school engagement and completion, thereby lowering their criminal propensity in adulthood.”