Children whose birthdays fall just before the school entry cutoff are the youngest in their cohort for their entire education. A large literature documents that, among other things, the youngest students in a classroom have lower test scores, are more likely to be held back, and are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.  This paper investigates if being the youngest in a cohort has an impact on an individual's propensity to commit crime. I use records for over 4 million arrests spanning a 20-year period in California to assess if being the youngest in a school cohort increases the likelihood of being arrested at any point between the early teen and young adult years. Overall, I find no effect on the probability of arrest for serious crimes and no persistent effect for less serious crimes. However, the youngest students in a cohort have a higher risk of arrest for certain offenses at age 14, corresponding to the age at which they would transition to high school.  This may reflect the influence of school setting, peer group composition, and monitoring standards on behavior and the probability of arrest.

 

Working Paper: "The Effect of School Quality on Behavior"


This paper utilizes school performance ratings created by the Chicago Public Schools District to compare schools that receive low performance ratings to those with slightly higher performance ratings. The performance rating system is based on a series of metrics including test scores, attendance, student growth, and graduation and drop-out rates. Schools that receive poor ratings and do not meet a certain performance threshold will be placed on probation in the following academic year. I compare outcomes of schools that fall on either side of the probation threshold using a regression discontinuity design. Specifically, I will compare outcomes such as test score gains (for tests outside of the rating system), on-campus misbehavior of students, as well as criminal behavior that occurs both on and off of school grounds. Preliminary results indicate that once schools are placed on probation, they remain on probation for several years. This may be due to the fact that these habitually poor performing schools are usually part of poor urban neighborhoods that lack the resources to make significant improvements.


Research Statement:


A research statement outlining my research interests, current work, and future work can be found here.