Bloomberg feature mafia research by economics academics

02 February 2017

Colchester Campus

Economics, Department of

Whether education “pays” for most people has been studied extensively, but we know much less about whether education “pays” in parts of society that undertake non-standard activity.  New work now has asked whether education “pays” even in criminal activity. 

It appears so, according to a new study of the Italian-American Mafia by the University of Essex and the University of California Merced.  The study finds that a mobster who completes just one extra year of education can increase, on average, his earnings by around 8%.

For those engaged in more sophisticated crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion and counterfeiting – so-called ‘business criminals’ – the increase rises to 16%. This is larger than the earnings benefits of an additional year’s education for a US citizen of a similar age living in a similar place.

The study by
Dr Nadia Campaniello, Professor Giovanni Mastrobuoni and Rowena Gray, from the University of California Merced, was featured in a recording by Bloomberg.

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