Crime Exposure and Educational Outcomes in Mexico (Violencia y desempeño académico en México)

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Pedro Paulo Orraca Romano


Driven by drug-related crimes, homicide levels in Mexico have dramatically increased since 2007. This study examines the effect of students’ exposure to crime on educational outcomes in Mexico. Using school-level data, a panel of the country’s elementary and secondary schools is constructed to analyse the effect of local homicides on standardised test scores and grade failure rates. The results show that a one-unit increase in the homicide rate per 10,000 inhabitants is associated with a reduction in school-level test scores between 0.0035 and 0.0142 standard deviations, this is likely being driven by effects of individual test scores and by compositional changes in the student body. Additionally, a rise in the homicide rate is also associated with an increase in the grade failure rate. It is proposed that the negative effects of crime exposure are partly due to a reduction of the number of contact hours, and students not compensating for this, by studying more outside of school. Exposure to homicides has potentially long-term consequences since it may affect educational achievement levels and future income flow.


Debido a un aumento en el número de delitos relacionados con el crimen organizado, los niveles de homicidios en México se incrementaron drásticamente a partir de 2007. Este artículo estudia los efectos de la exposición a altos niveles de homicidios sobre los logros educativos en México. Para ello, se construye un panel de escuelas primarias y secundarias a fin de analizar los efectos de los homicidios sobre los resultados de la prueba ENLACE y la tasa de reprobación. Los resultados muestran que un aumento en una unidad en la tasa de homicidios por cada 10,000 habitantes está asociado con una reducción en los resultados de la prueba ENLACE entre 0.0035 y 0.0042 desviaciones estándar, donde estos hallazgos son producto del efecto negativo sobre los resultados de la prueba y del cambio en la composición estudiantil dentro de las escuelas. Asimismo, incrementos en los niveles de homicidios también están asociados con un aumento en la tasa de reprobación. Los efectos negativos generados por los homicidios son, en parte, producto de una reducción en el número de horas que los alumnos asisten a la escuela.


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How to Cite
Orraca Romano, P. P. (2018). Crime Exposure and Educational Outcomes in Mexico (Violencia y desempeño académico en México). Ensayos Revista De Economía (Ensayos Journal of Economics), 37(2), 177–212.
Author Biography

Pedro Paulo Orraca Romano, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte

Investigador Titular A

Departamento de Estudios Económicos


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