Debunking conventional wisdom: Higher tertiary education levels could lead to more property crimes in Malaysia

Mohd Shahidan Shaari, Nor Hidayah Harun, Miguel Angel Esquivias, Mohd Juraij Abd Rani, Zaharah Zainal Abidin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the relationship between tertiary education and property crime in Malaysia from 1982 to 2020 using the ARDL approach. The study is motivated by the concern that underpaid individuals with higher education may resort to property crime. Results reveal that the female labour force is positively associated with burglary in the short run. Furthermore, income per capita is also found to be another contributing factor to property crime. Increased income levels and improvements in welfare schemes can contribute to reduced crime rates. Interestingly, the study finds that more individuals with tertiary education are associated with higher property crime rates. Property crime can flourish when the skills and qualifications of highly educated job seekers do not match labour needs or when suitable employment opportunities are scarce. Enhancing job quality, ensuring fair wages, appropriate job matching, and promoting a well-balanced employment environment may discourage highly educated individuals from turning to crime. Moreover, imprisonment does not act as a deterrent for property crime. The findings may be relevant for curbing property crime in other developing countries experiencing a rise in tertiary education, sluggish income growth, and low female labour participation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2245638
JournalCogent Social Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • crime
  • employment
  • inflation
  • job creation
  • property crime
  • tertiary education


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