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Abstract: This paper presents new evidence showing 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, and link them with administrative data on the educational attainment of their children. I exploit exogenous variation in incarceration resulting from the random assignment of defendants to judges, and extend the standard framework to incorporate both conviction and incarceration decisions. I show that the effect of incarceration for a given conviction threshold can be identified. My results indicate that parental incarceration increases educational attainment by 0.78 years for the children of convicted parents on the margin of incarceration.
Keywords: Incarceration, Education, Parenting
JEL Classification: I24; J24; K42