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The Origins of Intergenerational Associations in Crime: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data

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  • Hjalmarsson, Randi

    ()
    (Queen Mary, U. of London, School of Economics and Finance)

  • Lindquist, Matthew J.

    ()
    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

Abstract

We use Swedish adoption data combined with police register data to study parent-son associations in crime. For adopted sons born in Sweden, we have access to the criminal records of both the adopting and biological parents. This allows us to assess the relative importance of pre-birth factors (genes, prenatal environment and perinatal conditions) and post-birth factors for generating parent-son associations in crime. When considering the extensive margin, we find that pre-birth and post-birth factors are both important determinants of sons’ convictions and that mothers and fathers contribute equally through these two channels. At the intensive margin, pre-birth factors still matter, however post-birth factors appear to dominate. In particular, adopting mothers appear to matter most for the probability that sons will be convicted of multiple crimes and/or be sentenced to prison. We find little evidence of interaction effects between biological and adoptive parents’ criminal convictions. Having more highly educated adoptive parents, however, does appear to mitigate the impact of biological parents’ criminality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Swedish Institute for Social Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 11/2011.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 12 Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2011_011

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Related research

Keywords: adoption; crime; illegal behavior; intergenerational crime; intergenerational mobility; risky behavior.;

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References

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  1. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme & Marieke Schnabel, 2012. "The Effect of Education Policy on Crime: An Intergenerational Perspective," NBER Working Papers 18145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux, 2010. "Recent Developments in Intergenerational Mobility," Working Papers 201025, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  3. Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, 2007. "Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime," NBER Working Papers 13097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Erik Plug & Wim Vijverberg, 2003. "Schooling, Family Background, and Adoption: Is It Nature or Is It Nurture?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 611-641, June.
  5. David Cesarini & Christopher T. Dawes & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Björn Wallace, 2009. "Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk Taking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 809-842, May.
  6. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2004. "Intergenerational Effects in Sweden: What Can We Learn from Adoption Data?," IZA Discussion Papers 1194, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Mårten Palme, 2009. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1729-1772, November.
  8. Randall K. Q. Akee & William E. Copeland & Gordon Keeler & Adrian Angold & E. Jane Costello, 2010. "Parents' Incomes and Children's Outcomes: A Quasi-experiment Using Transfer Payments from Casino Profits," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 86-115, January.
  9. Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2012. "Like Godfather, Like Son: Exploring the Intergenerational Nature of Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 550-582.
  10. Helena Holmlund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2010. "The Causal Effect of Parents' Schooling on Children's Schooling - A Comparison of Estimation Methods," CESifo Working Paper Series 3234, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Hjalmarsson Randi & Lindquist Matthew J., 2010. "Driving Under the Influence of Our Fathers," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-17, November.
  12. Reyes Jessica Wolpaw, 2007. "Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-43, October.
  13. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2009. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 105-147, February.
  14. Anne C. Case & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects of Family and Neighborhood on Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. David Cesarini & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Björn Wallace, 2009. "Heritability of Overconfidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 617-627, 04-05.
  16. Jenny Williams & Robin C. Sickles, 2002. "An Analysis of the Crime as Work Model: Evidence from the 1958 Philadelphia Birth Cohort Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(3), pages 479-509.
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Cited by:
  1. Rud, I. & Van Klaveren, C. & Groot, W. and Maassen van den Brink, H., 2012. "The externalities of crime: The effect of criminal involvement of parents on the educational attainment of their children," Working Papers 44, Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research.
  2. Meghir, Costas & Palme, Mårten & Schnabel, Marieke, 2011. "The effect of education policy on crime: an intergenerational perspective," Working Paper Series 2011:20, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  3. Lundborg, Petter & Nordin, Martin & Rooth, Dan Olof, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital. The Role of Skills and Health," Working Papers 2012:22, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  4. Lundborg, Petter & Nordin, Martin & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Exploring the Role of Skills and Health Using Data on Adoptees and Twins," IZA Discussion Papers 6099, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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