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"The Cost of Bad Parents: Evidence from the Effects of Parental Incarceration on Children's Education"
This paper provides evidence that parental incarceration increases children’s educational attainment. I collect criminal records for 90,000 low-income parents who have been convicted of a crime in Colombia, which I combine with administrative data on the educational attainment of their children. I exploit exogenous variation in parental incarceration resulting from the random assignment of defendants to judges with different propensities to convict and incarcerate. Because I only observe defendants who are convicted, my identification strategy differs from previous judge IV applications. To address this challenge, I depart from the single dimension threshold setting, and model conviction and incarceration in the context of a multiple dimension threshold crossing model, thereby defining a new policy-relevant causal parameter. I find that conditional on conviction, parental incarceration increases education by 0.7 years for children whose parents are on the margin of incarceration.