Effects of the education boom

Continuing education for a longer period leads to lower crime rates. The beneficial effect on health has not been convincingly proven. This is clear from the literature study conducted by the Central Planning Office (CPB) to the broad prosperity effects of education published on October 19, 2023.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science asked CPB to conduct research on the causal relationships between education and broad-based prosperity. There has been sufficient scientific literature available to study two aspects of broad prosperity, namely health and crime.

The starting point for studying CPB is the observation that in many countries, people with a higher level of education have better health and show less criminal behavior. The question is whether one leads to the other. The answer to this can help in education policy making.


(Image: Adobe Firefly/Amstelveenweb.com – 2023)

Students in school classrooms


a crime. A review of the literature shows that longer education, on average, leads to lower crime rates. Various explanations are possible for this. Education provides better career opportunities, meaning there is less to gain and more to lose from criminal behaviour. Education can also help develop qualities such as patience and future orientation. Furthermore, education can impact the people students interact with and keep them off the streets. The extent of the influence of each of these explanations remains unclear.

health. Researchers have found no consensus in the literature regarding the beneficial effect of going to school longer on health. If there is a clear effect on health, possible explanations are that education provides knowledge and skills useful for a healthier life, provides higher incomes and provides access to a social network that promotes health.

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Future research. Researchers note that the literature has limitations. This is mainly because many studies look at the consequences of a specific policy change: changing the compulsory education law. This changes the length of time someone attends education. They argue that it may be useful to focus future research more on the effects of changes in curriculum content or quality of teaching, such as the number of students per teacher. Then a more complete picture can emerge Broad welfare implications of education.(pdf 17 pages)

The Central Planning Bureau (CPB) is a Dutch government agency whose primary function is to make economic forecasts and analyses. The planning agency tries to be scientifically responsible and modern.

Megan Vasquez

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