A 5 percent increase in the number of males who receive a high school diploma could mean significant crime-related savings and higher earnings for the United States, according to conservative calculations by the Alliance for Excellent Education in its new issue brief, Saving Futures, Saving Dollars: The Impact of Education on Crime Reduction and Earnings. The study, funded by MetLife Foundation, identifies this prime example of the impact of education on the economy.
Projections based on current data indicate that an increase of male graduates in the country could potentially reduce its arrest rate and the prison population, resulting in an annual savings of almost $5 billion. This new population of graduates would, in turn, increase their earning power, adding an annual $2.8 billion in wages to nation’s revenue.
Statistically, high school dropouts are more likely to be arrested and convicted than those who have graduated. The financial cost is high, and includes expenses related to incarceration, property loss, and victim costs.
“Opportunity increases with a high school diploma,” says Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “The key is to keep kids in school who are at risk of dropping out by making sure they have access to resources, are engaged and appropriately challenged, and have the reading skills necessary to earn that diploma and be a productive member of society.”
“Education and the economy are key concerns of citizens and policymakers,” said Sibyl Jacobson, president of MetLife Foundation. “This study points to the links between the two and encourages understanding of the long-term advantages of a high school diploma for both the individual and his community.”
Saving Futures, Saving Dollars: The Impact of Education on Crime Reduction and Earnings is available here.
Crime-related savings were calculated using methods outlined by economists Lance Lochner of the University of Western Ontario and Enrico Moretti of the University of California–Berkeley. Increased earnings were calculated using 2004 U.S. Census Current Population Survey data.
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MetLife Foundation was founded in 1976 and supports programs that increase opportunities for young people to succeed, give students and teachers a voice in improving education, create connections between schools and communities, and strengthen relationships among parents, teachers, and students.
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington-based policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for postsecondary education and success in life.
For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit: www.all4ed.org.