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The Juvenile Crime Dilemma

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  • Ignacio Munyo

    (Universidad de Montevideo)

Abstract

I develop a dynamic model of behavior to analyze juvenile crime. Forward-looking youths consistently decide between crime and legal activities depending on their endowment of work- and crime-specific human capital, which in turn is shaped by their history of past choices. The model explicitly recognizes the contrasting levels of punishment of the juvenile and adult criminal systems. In order to evaluate whether the model explains the evolution of crime, I calibrate it and test whether it can account for the observed variations in juvenile crime levels across changes in economic and legal conditions. The model is able to reproduce 91 percent of the recent increase in juvenile crime in Uruguay by affecting key model parameters in line with observed facts (a decrease in the relative returns of legal activities and the introduction of a lenient juvenile crime regulation and enforcement strategy). Counterfactual model results predict that a reduction in the age of criminal majority would significantly lower juvenile crime involvement. However, if the transmission of crime-related skills in correctional facilities were strong enough, harsher punishments to juveniles would increase the likelihood of criminal involvement later in life. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Ignacio Munyo, 2015. "The Juvenile Crime Dilemma," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(2), pages 201-211, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:13-7
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2014.03.004
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    2. Hao Jin & Hewei Shen, 2020. "Foreign Asset Accumulation among Emerging Market Economies: a Case for Coordination," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 35, pages 54-73, January.
    3. Ivan G. Lopez Cruz, 2015. "Policing, Schooling and Human Capital Accumulation," CAEPR Working Papers 2015-024, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Department of Economics, Indiana University Bloomington.
    4. Oguzoglu Umut & Ranasinghe Ashantha, 2017. "Crime and Establishment Size: Evidence from South America," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 17(4), pages 1-17, October.
    5. Ferraz, Eduardo & Soares, Rodrigo R., 2022. "Socially Optimal Crime and Punishment," IZA Discussion Papers 15053, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. M. Antonella Mancino, 2022. "A Search Model Of Early Employment Careers And Youth Crime," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 63(1), pages 329-390, February.
    7. Mancino, Maria Antonella & Navarro, Salvador & Rivers, David A., 2016. "Separating state dependence, experience, and heterogeneity in a model of youth crime and education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 274-305.
    8. Dutta, Nabamita & Jana, Dipparna & Kar, Saibal, 2020. "Does state-level per capita income affect juvenile delinquency? An empirical analysis for Indian states," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 109-120.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crime; Dynamic programming;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • D99 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Other

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