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Expected recidivism among young offenders: Comparing specific deterrence under juvenile and adult criminal law

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  • Entorf, Horst

Abstract

This paper contributes to the literature on specific deterrence by addressing the issue of selecting adolescents into adult and juvenile law systems. In Germany, different from the U.S. and most other countries, turning a critical cutoff age does not cause a sharp discontinuity from juvenile to adult penal law, but rather implies a shift to a discretionary system of both adult and juvenile law, dependent on the courts' impression of moral and mental personal development of the adolescent at the time of the act. The German legal system draws the line of adulthood at some fuzzy age interval between 18 and 21, which is well above the thresholds prevailing in the U.S. (16 to 18years, state specific) and other countries. Thus, the German evidence entails some external evidence to the previous literature mostly relying on U.S. data. Based on a unique inmate survey and Two-Equation Models controlling for selectivity problems, results show that application of adult criminal law instead of juvenile penal law decreases expected recidivism of adolescents.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 28 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 414-429

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:28:y:2012:i:4:p:414-429

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

Related research

Keywords: Specific deterrence; Recidivism; Survey data; Bivariate Probit; Treatment effects;

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  1. Entorf, H. & Winker, P., 2008. "Investigating the drugs-crime channel in economics of crime models: Empirical evidence from panel data of the German States," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 8-22, March.
  2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lance Lochner, 2007. "Individual Perceptions of the Criminal Justice System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 444-460, March.
  4. Steven D. Levitt, 1997. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," NBER Working Papers 6191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Randi Hjalmarsson, 2009. "Juvenile Jails: A Path to the Straight and Narrow or to Hardened Criminality?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 779-809, November.
  6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
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  8. Douhou, Salima & Magnus, Jan R. & van Soest, Arthur, 2011. "The perception of small crime," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 749-763.
  9. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  10. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2007. "Do Harsher Prison Conditions Reduce Recidivism? A Discontinuity-based Approach," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-29.
  11. Pietro Vertova, 2011. "Prison Conditions and Recidivism," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 103-130.
  12. McCrary, Justin & Lee, David S., 2009. "The Deterrence Effect of Prison: Dynamic Theory and Evidence," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt2gh1r30h, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  13. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
  14. Entorf, Horst, 2009. "Crime and the Labour Market: Evidence from a Survey of Inmates," IZA Discussion Papers 3976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Lawrence Katz & Steven D. Levitt & Ellen Shustorovich, 2003. "Prison Conditions, Capital Punishment, and Deterrence," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 318-343, August.
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