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Crime and Expected Punishment: Changes in Perceptions at the Age of Criminal Majority

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  • Randi Hjalmarsson

Abstract

This paper assesses whether perceived punishment severity changes discontinuously when an individual becomes an adult in the eyes of the courts. I find that the perceived chance of jail increases by 5.2 percentage points at the age of criminal majority, which is over and above the general effect of aging. The magnitude of this subjective change in the chance of jail at the age of majority appears to be substantially smaller than that found in objective data. Finally, a reduced-form analysis of whether self-reported criminal behavior changes discontinuously at the age of criminal majority finds little consistent evidence of deterrence. Copyright 2008, Oxford University Press.

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  • Randi Hjalmarsson, 2008. "Crime and Expected Punishment: Changes in Perceptions at the Age of Criminal Majority," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 209-248.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:11:y:2008:i:1:p:209-248
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/aler/ahn016
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    Cited by:

    1. Steven N. Durlauf & Daniel S. Nagin, 2010. "The Deterrent Effect of Imprisonment," NBER Chapters,in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 43-94 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David S. Abrams, 2012. "Estimating the Deterrent Effect of Incarceration Using Sentencing Enhancements," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 32-56, October.
    3. George Saridakis & Sandra Sookram, 2014. "Violent Crime and Perceived Deterrence: An Empirical Approach using the Offending Crime and Justice Survey," Economic Issues Journal Articles, Economic Issues, vol. 19(1), pages 23-56, March.

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