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The Transition from School to Jail: Youth Crime and High School Completion Among Black Males

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  • Antonio Merlo

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Kenneth I. Wolpin

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

In this paper, we propose a new approach to the empirical study of the relationships among schooling, youth employment and youth crime which provides a comprehensive analysis of the dynamic interactions among these choices and exposure to the criminal justice system. The empirical framework takes the form of a multinomial discrete choice vector autoregression of a youth’s schooling, work and crime decisions as well as arrest and incarceration outcomes. We allow for observable initial conditions, unobserved heterogeneity, the possibility of measurement error and for missing data. We use data from the NLSY97 on black male youths starting from age 14. The estimates indicate an important role for heterogeneity in initial conditions. We also find that stochastic events that arise during one’s youth can be important in determining outcomes as young adults.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 08-033.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 17 Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:08-033

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Keywords: crime; schooling; work; VAR;

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References

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  1. Lance Lochner, 2004. "Education, Work, and Crime: A Human Capital Approach," NBER Working Papers 10478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Tauchen, Helen & Witte, Ann Dryden & Griesinger, Harriet, 1994. "Criminal Deterrence: Revisiting the Issue with a Birth Cohort," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 399-412, August.
  3. 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.
  4. Sauer, Robert & Keane, Michael P., 2007. "A computationally practical simulation estimation algorithm for dynamic panel data models with unobserved endogenous state variables," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0705, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  5. Hjalmarsson, Randi, 2008. "Criminal justice involvement and high school completion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 613-630, March.
  6. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jeff Grogger, 1997. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," NBER Working Papers 5983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Joel Waldfogel, 1994. " The Effect of Criminal Conviction on Income and the Trust "Reposed in the Workmen"," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(1), pages 62-81.
  9. Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 12003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do about It?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 25-42, Winter.
  11. Giulio Fella & Giovanni Gallipoli, 2007. "Education and Crime over the Life Cycle," Working Paper Series 15-07, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, revised Jul 2007.
  12. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
  13. Susumu Imai & Kala Krishna, 2004. "Employment, Deterrence, And Crime In A Dynamic Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 845-872, 08.
  14. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 2550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Sickles, Robin C. & Williams, Jenny, 2008. "Turning from crime: A dynamic perspective," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 158-173, July.
  16. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1999. "Why Youths Drop Out of High School: The Impact of Preferences, Opportunities, and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1295-1340, November.
  17. Lance Lochner, 2007. "Individual Perceptions of the Criminal Justice System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 444-460, March.
  18. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
  19. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2005. "Simple solutions to the initial conditions problem in dynamic, nonlinear panel data models with unobserved heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 39-54.
  20. Ann Dryden Witte & Helen Tauchen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 4794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2003. "Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration, and Juvenile Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1560-1577, December.
  22. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
  23. Witte, Ann D & Tauchen, Helen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 155-67.
  24. 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. Lance Lochner, 2010. "Education Policy and Crime," NBER Working Papers 15894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ham, John C. & Woutersen, Tiemen, 2011. "Calculating Confidence Intervals for Continuous and Discontinuous Functions of Estimated Parameters," IZA Discussion Papers 5816, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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