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Turning 18: What a Difference Application of Adult Criminal Law Makes

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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 18 years, state specific) and other countries such that 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

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 29811.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29811

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Keywords: Specific deterrence; selectivity; inmate survey;

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References

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  1. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Technical Working Papers 0337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Steven D. Levitt, 1997. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," NBER Working Papers 6191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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).
  5. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
  6. Entorf, Horst & Winker, Peter, 2006. "Investigating the Drugs-Crime Channel in Economics of Crime Models Empirical Evidence from Panel Data of the German States," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 36776, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute of Economics (VWL).
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  8. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  9. Entorf, Horst & Spengler, Hannes, 2008. "Is Being 'Soft on Crime' the Solution to Rising Crime Rates? Evidence from Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3710, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Lance Lochner, 2005. "Individual Perceptions of the Criminal Justice System," 2005 Meeting Papers 452, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. 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.
  12. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2008. "Regression-Discontinuity Analysis: A Survey of Recent Developments in Economics," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(2), pages 219-245, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. Ignacio Munyo, . "The Juvenile Crime Dilemma," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.

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