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Market Wages and Youth Crime

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  • Grogger, Jeff

Abstract

To study the problem of widespread youth crime, the author analyzes a time-allocation model in which consumers face parametric wages and diminishing marginal returns to crime. The theory motivates an econometric model that he estimates using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The author's estimates suggest that youth behavior is responsive to price incentives and that falling real wages may have been an important determinant of rising youth crime during the 1970s and 1980s. Moreover, wage differentials explain a substantial component of both the racial differential in criminal participation and the age distribution of crime. Copyright 1998 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-791, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:16:y:1998:i:4:p:756-91
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. John Bound & Richard B. Freeman, 1992. "What Went Wrong? The Erosion of Relative Earnings and Employment Among Young Black Men in the 1980s," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 201-232.
    4. Gronau, Reuben, 1977. "Leisure, Home Production, and Work-The Theory of the Allocation of Time Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1099-1123, December.
    5. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1978. "The Estimation of a Simultaneous Equation Generalized Probit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1193-1205, September.
    6. Ann Dryden Witte, 1980. "Estimating the Economic Model of Crime With Individual Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 57-84.
    7. K. Newey, Whitney, 1985. "Generalized method of moments specification testing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 229-256, September.
    8. Helen V. Tauchen & Ann Dryden Witte & Harriet Griesinger, 1988. "Deterrence, Work and Crime: Revisiting the Issues with Birth Cohort Data," NBER Working Papers 2508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Grogger, Jeffrey, 1991. "Certainty vs. Severity of Punishment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 297-309, April.
    10. Sjoquist, David Lawrence, 1973. "Property Crime and Economic Behavior: Some Empirical Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 439-446, June.
    11. Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "A Time Series-Cross Section Analysis of International Variation in Crime and Punishment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 417-423, August.
    12. Fishe, Raymond P. H. & Trost, R. P. & Lurie, Philip M., 1981. "Labor force earnings and college choice of young women: An examination of selectivity bias and comparative advantage," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 169-191, April.
    13. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-694, July.
    14. Lemieux, Thomas & Fortin, Bernard & Frechette, Pierre, 1994. "The Effect of Taxes on Labor Supply in the Underground Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 231-254, March.
    15. Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Crime and the Employment of Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-565, May-June.
    17. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-392, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law

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