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The Impact of Income and Family Structure on Delinquency


  • Comanor, William
  • Phillips, Llad


Over in the meadow by the old Scotch pine Lives an old mother duck and her little ducklings nine. "Paddle!" said the mother. "We paddle!" said the nine. So they paddled all day by the old Scotch pine.1 [In nature there is] continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.2 A society of Sperm Fathers is a society of 14-year-old girls with babies and 14-year-old boys with guns.3 Together, these three quotations suggest a critical hypothesis as to the effect of family structure on the behavior of boys and girls. The first quotation is a contemporary verse for children and frequently is applied to a large number of animal species. To the extent that it captures an essential truth about the animal kingdom, it is that family structures are largely composed of a mother and her children, while the biological father is nowhere to be seen. While there are surely exceptions to this rule, that characterization is a common one.

Suggested Citation

  • Comanor, William & Phillips, Llad, 1998. "The Impact of Income and Family Structure on Delinquency," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4m46m389, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt4m46m389

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    2. Loewenstein, George, 1996. "Out of Control: Visceral Influences on Behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 272-292, March.
    3. Brandts, Jordi & Sola, Carles, 2001. "Reference Points and Negative Reciprocity in Simple Sequential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 138-157, August.
    4. Schotter Andrew & Weigelt Keith & Wilson Charles, 1994. "A Laboratory Investigation of Multiperson Rationality and Presentation Effects," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 445-468, May.
    5. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
    6. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    7. Roberto Weber & Colin Camerer & Marc Knez, 2004. "Timing and Virtual Observability in Ultimatum Bargaining and “Weak Link” Coordination Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(1), pages 25-48, February.
    8. Güth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Müller, Wieland, 1998. "The relevance of equal splits: On a behavioral discontinuity in ultimatum games," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1998,7, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    9. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 1998. "Social Influence in the Sequential Dictator Game," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-37, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    10. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    11. Amnon Rapoport, 1997. "Order of Play in Strategically Equivalent Games in Extensive Form," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 26(1), pages 113-136.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2002. "Does Single Parenthood Increase the Probability of Teenage Promiscuity, Drug Use and Crime?," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-23, Claremont Colleges.
    2. Antecol, Heather & Bedard, Kelly & Helland, Eric, 2001. "Does Single Parenthood Increase the Probability of Teenage Promiscuity, Drug Use, and Crime? Evidence from Divorce Law Changes," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3fc7n20b, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.

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    income; impact; family structure; delinquency;


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