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Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration, and Juvenile Crime

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  • Brian A. Jacob
  • Lars Lefgren

Abstract

This paper examines the short-term effect of school on juvenile crime. To do so, we bring together daily measures of criminal activity and detailed school calendar information from 29 jurisdictions across the country, and utilize the plausibly exogenous variation generated by teacher in-service days. We find that the level of property crime committed by juveniles decreases by 14 percent on days when school is in session, but the level of violent crime increases by 28 percent on such days. Our findings suggest that both incapacitation and concentration influence juvenile crime.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:93:y:2003:i:5:p:1560-1577
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282803322655446
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeffrey Grogger, 1997. "Local Violence and Educational Attainment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(4), pages 659-682.
    2. Kling, J.R., 1999. "The Effect of Prison Sentence Length on the Subsequent Employment and Earnings of Criminal Defendants," Papers 208, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
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    4. 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.
    5. Alejandro Gaviria & Steven Raphael, 2001. "School-Based Peer Effects And Juvenile Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 257-268, May.
    6. Grogger, Jeff, 1992. "Arrests, Persistent Youth Joblessness, and Black/White Employment Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 100-106, February.
    7. 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.
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    12. 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.
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    18. repec:pri:wwseco:dp208 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Nagin, Daniel & Waldfogel, Joel, 1995. "The effects of criminality and conviction on the labor market status of young British offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 109-126, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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