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The Effect of Conviction on Income Through the Life Cycle

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  • Nagin, Daniel
  • Waldfogel, Joel

Abstract

Existing studies of the impact of conviction on income and employment do not consider life cycle issues. We postulate that conviction reduces access to career jobs offering stable, long-term employment. Instead, conviction relegates offenders to spot market jobs, which may have higher pay at the outset of the career but do not offer stable employment or rapidly rising wages. Thus, first-time conviction may increase the wages of young workers while decreasing the wages of older workers. We test our theory with data on federal offenders and find that first-time conviction has a positive and significant effect on income for offenders under age 25 and an increasingly negative and significant impact for offenders over age 30. These results imply that the present value of income lost as a result of conviction varies over the life cycle, reaching a maximum in the middle of the career. We find that the gains sought by these offenders follow similar profiles, suggesting that prospective offenders are deterred by the possibility of lost future income. Because the discounted loss in future income facing young offenders may be small, our results may provide part of an explanation of youth crime.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Review of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (1998)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 25-40

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Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:18:y:1998:i:1:p:25-40

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/irle

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References

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  1. Nagin, Daniel & Waldfogel, Joel, 1995. "The effects of criminality and conviction on the labor market status of young British offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 109-126, January.
  2. Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Crime and the Employment of Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  4. Grogger, Jeff, 1992. "Arrests, Persistent Youth Joblessness, and Black/White Employment Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 100-106, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Adolfo Sachsida & Mario Jorge C. de Mendonça & Fabio Stallivieri, 2007. "Ex-Convicts Face Multiple Labor Market Punishments: Estimates of Peer-Group and Stigma Effects Using Equations of Returns to Schooling," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 8(3), pages .503–520.
  2. repec:fth:prinin:450 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Robert W. Fairlie, 1999. "Drug Dealing and Legitimate Self-Employment," JCPR Working Papers 88, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  4. Curry, Philip A. & Klumpp, Tilman, 2009. "Crime, punishment, and prejudice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 73-84, February.
  5. Thomas J. Miceli & Catherine Bucci, 2004. "A Simple Theory of Increasing Penalties for Repeat Offenders," Working papers 2004-39, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  6. Devah Pager, 2003. "The mark of a criminal record," Natural Field Experiments 00319, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Matthew Baker & Niklas J. Westelius, 2009. "Crime, Expectations and The Deterrence Hypothesis," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 425, Hunter College Department of Economics.
  8. Nagin, Daniel & Waldfogel, Joel, 1995. "The effects of criminality and conviction on the labor market status of young British offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 109-126, January.
  9. Sciulli, Dario, 2010. "Conviction, Gender and Labour Market Status: A Propensity Score Matching Approach," MPRA Paper 25054, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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