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Economic Conditions, Deterrence and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from Micro Data

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  • H. Naci Mocan
  • Daniel I. Rees

Abstract

This is the first paper to test the economic model of crime for juveniles using micro data. It uses a nationally representative sample of 16,478 high school children surveyed in 1995. The sample includes not only detailed information on offenses, but also data on personal, family and neighborhood characteristics as well as deterrence measures. We analyze the determinants of selling drugs, committing assault, robbery, burglary and theft, separately for males and females. We find that an increase in violent crime arrests reduces the probability of selling drugs and assaulting someone for males, and reduces the probability of selling drugs and stealing for females. An increase in local unemployment increases the propensity to commit crimes, as does local poverty. Similarly, family poverty increases the probability to commit robbery, burglary and theft for males, and assault and burglary for females. Local characteristics are more important for females than males. The results also indicate that family supervision has an impact on delinquent behavior. These results show that juveniles do respond to incentives and sanctions as predicted by economic theory. Employment opportunities, increased family income and more strict deterrence are effective tools to reduce juvenile crime.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7405.

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Date of creation: Oct 1999
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Publication status: published as H. Naci Mocan & Daniel I. Rees, 2005. "Economic Conditions, Deterrence and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from Micro Data," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 319-349.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7405

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  1. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-91, October.
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  13. Richard B. Freeman, 1985. "Who Escapes? The Relation of Church-Going & Other Background Factors to the Socio-Economic Performance of Blk. Male Yths. from Inner-City Pvrty Tracts," NBER Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 1656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
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