What Drives the Relationship Between Early Criminal
Involvement and School Dropout?
Chris van Klaveren
tte Maassen van den Brink
Published online: 12 October 2016
Ó The Author(s) 2016. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com
We examine the relationship between early criminal involvement and school
dropout, and analyze which factors underlie this relationship, making use of administrative
data from the Netherlands.
We start by determining the unconditional correlation between early criminal
involvement and school dropout, using a basic ordinary least squares model. As this
association is likely to be driven by different factors, we proceed by including an extensive
set of observable family and individual characteristics into the estimation model. We
further proceed to models that account for the inﬂuence of unobservable heterogeneity by
estimating school, class, sibling and twin ﬁxed effects.
Criminal involvement is associated with an 11 percentage point higher probability
of school dropout. The magnitude of this relationship decreases gradually when we account
for larger shares of observed and unobserved heterogeneity. The coefﬁcient in the same-
gender twin ﬁxed effects model indicates a 3 percentage point higher probability of school
dropout, which is statistically signiﬁcant at a 10 % level. We also ﬁnd that the association
between criminal involvement and school dropout is stronger if juveniles are involved in
severe criminal activities.
We conclude that the observable and unobservable factors for which we
account explain around 73 % of the unconditional correlation between criminal involve-
ment and school dropout. The remaining variation likely reﬂects individual-speciﬁc
characteristics that are different between same-gender twins. A true treatment effect, if
existing, is likely to be relatively small. At the same time, serious criminal behavior
appears to causally affect school dropout.
& Iryna Rud
The Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research, TIER, Maastricht University,
P.O. BOX 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
The Faculty of Behavioral and Movement Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The
J Quant Criminol (2018) 34:139–166