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Youth Criminal Participation and Household Economic Status

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  • David Bjerk

Abstract

This paper uses data from the NLSY97 to estimate the degree to which youth criminal participation is related to household economic status. The first part of the paper indicates that there exists a strong negative relationship between house- hold economic status and youth participation in serious crimes, with youth from households in the poorest third of the wealth distribution being over 65 percent more likely to have participated in a serious crime over the observation period than youth coming from households in the richest third of the wealth distribution. How- ever, I show that the strength of this estimated relationship will be significantly understated if crimes are not limited to being serious in nature and/or household income as opposed to household wealth is used to measure household economic sta- tus. The latter part of the paper then shows that most of the observed relationship between household wealth and youth participation in serious criminal activity can be accounted for by various measures of youth expectations of future opportunities, neighborhood criminal exposure, and investments in children by parents.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2004-10.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2004-10

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  1. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "Discrete choice with social interactions," Working papers 7, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  3. Witte, Ann Dryden, 1980. "Estimating the Economic Model of Crime with Individual Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 57-84, February.
  4. Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1156-1185, December.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1999. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S225-S258, December.
  6. Kessler, Daniel P & Levitt, Steven D, 1999. "Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 343-63, April.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  8. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
  10. Steven D. Levitt & Lance Lochner, 2001. "The Determinants of Juvenile Crime," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 327-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Crime and the Employment of Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Grogger, Jeffrey, 1995. "The Effect of Arrests on the Employment and Earnings of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 51-71, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Fairlie, Robert W., 2005. "The effects of home computers on school enrollment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 533-547, October.
  2. Sara B. Heller & Brian A. Jacob & Jens Ludwig, 2010. "Family Income, Neighborhood Poverty, and Crime," NBER Chapters, in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 419-459 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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