We estimate the causal effect of repeated exposure to violent crime on test scores in New York City. We use two distinct empirical strategies; value-added models linking student performance on standardized exams to violent crimes on a student’s residential block, and a regression discontinuity approach that identifies the acute effect of an additional crime exposure within a one-week window. Exposure to violent crime reduces academic performance. Value added models suggest the average effect is very small; approximately -0.01 standard deviations in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. RD models suggest a larger effect, particularly among children previously exposed. The marginal acute effect is as large as -0.04 standard deviations for students with two or more prior exposures. Among these, it is even larger for black students, almost a 10th of a standard deviation. We provide credible causal evidence that repeated exposure to neighborhood violence harms test scores, and this negative effect increases with exposure.
Neighborhood Effects, Crime, Academic Performance, Racial Disparities, Educational Outcomes, Regression Discontinuity, Value Added Model
Working Papers Series
Criminology and Criminal Justice | Econometrics | Public Affairs | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration
Schwartz, Amy Ellen; Laurito, Agustina; Lacoe, Johanna; Sharkey, Patrick; and Ellen, Ingrid Gould, "The Academic Effects of Chronic Exposure to Neighborhood Violence" (2016). Center for Policy Research. 229.
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