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Human capital consequences of violence in schools: Estimating the impact of violence in schools on education outcomes in Brazil

Review of Development Economics

Published online on


Implementation of policies to reduce the incidence of violence in schools needs a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon and its consequences for the victims, perpetrators, and witnesses alike. However, much of the existing literature either focuses on the impact of violence on victim students or studies the specific cases of violent conflicts. Using Brazilian education data, this paper examines the impact of violence in schools on educational outcomes of the schooling system and emphasizes the human capital consequences of recorded violent incidents in schools. First, the paper establishes the psychological stress–threat mechanism by which violent incidents in schools directly impact students' mathematics test scores as well as school level average of these test scores. Thereafter, the paper demonstrates the reduced learning mechanism by which violence further detriments the quality of education, albeit indirectly, by disengaging the teachers and students from their professional responsibilities. The main results are tested for robustness and policy implications are discussed.