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The Impact of Income and Family Structure on Delinquency

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    Abstract

    There is no more important issue in the economics of the family than the impact of parents on the behavior of their children. By providing rewards and imposing constraints, parents seek to affect their children’s behavior. The explanation of these actions is that the child’s conduct directly enters into the parent’s utility function. In this paper, we use that framework to explore the role of parental control over his or her child’s delinquent behavior. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we estimate the impact of family income and various dimensions of family structure on a youth’s contact with the criminal justice system between the ages of 14 and 22. From this analysis, we conclude that the single most important factor affecting these measures of delinquency is the presence of his father in the home. All other factors, including family income, are much less important.

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    File URL: http://www.cema.edu.ar/publicaciones/download/volume5/comanor.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Universidad del CEMA in its journal Journal of Applied Economics.

    Volume (Year): V (2002)
    Issue (Month): (November)
    Pages: 209-232

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    Handle: RePEc:cem:jaecon:v:5:y:2002:n:2:p:209-232

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    Keywords: family structure; delinquency; role of fathers; role of mothers;

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    1. Had Phillips & Harold Votey, 1987. "Rational choice models of crimes by youth," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 129-187, June.
    2. Steven D. Levitt, 1997. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," NBER Working Papers 6191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard & Eric Helland, 2001. "Does Single Parenthood Increase the Probability of Teenage Promiscuity, Drug Use, and Crime? Evidence from Divorce Law Changes," Claremont Colleges Working Papers, Claremont Colleges 2001-11, Claremont Colleges.
    4. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2002. "Does Single Parenthood Increase the Probability of Teenage Promiscuity, Drug Use and Crime?," Claremont Colleges Working Papers, Claremont Colleges 2002-23, Claremont Colleges.
    5. I-Fen Lin & Anne Case & Sara McLanahan, 1999. "Household Resource Allocation in Stepfamilies: Darwin Reflects on the Plight of Cinderella," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 234-238, May.
    6. Antecol, Heather & Bedard, Kelly & Helland, Eric, 2001. "Does Single Parenthood Increase the Probability of Teenage Promiscuity, Drug Use, and Crime? Evidence from Divorce Law Changes," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3fc7n20b, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    7. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
    8. Manski, C.F. & Sandefur, G.D. & Mclanahan, S. & Powers, D., 1990. "Alternative Estimates Of The Effect Of Family Stucture During Adolescence On Hight School Graduation," Working papers, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems 90-31, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    9. Gerald S. Oettinger, 1999. "The Effects of Sex Education on Teen Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 606-635, June.
    10. David Card, 1994. "Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited," Working Papers, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. 710, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    11. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1985. "Children as Collective Goods and Divorce Settlements," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 268-92, July.
    12. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect Of Income On Child Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 261-276, May.
    13. Gary Painter & David I. Levine, 2004. "Daddies, Devotion, and Dollars," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 813-850, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Matsushita, Raul & Baldo, Dinorá & Martin, Bruna & Da Silva, Sergio, 2007. "The biological basis of expected utility anomalies," MPRA Paper 4520, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2007. "Does single parenthood increase the probability of teenage promiscuity, substance use, and crime?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 55-71, February.

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