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Child's Gender, Young Fathers' Crime, and Spillover Effects in Criminal Behavior

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  • Christian Dustmann

    () (University College London and Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM))

  • Rasmus Landersø

    () (Rockwool Foundation Research Unit)

Abstract

This paper studies whether an exogenous reduction in the criminal activity of one individual lowers crimes committed by other young men who live in the immediate neighborhood. Using the randomness of a child's gender, we first show that men who father their first child at a very young age are convicted of significantly fewer crimes in the first years after the birth if the child is a son rather than a daughter. We next show that this leads to behavioral spillovers that significantly reduce criminal convictions among other young men living in the same neighborhood as the father at the child's birth, as well as victimization rates, for at least five years after birth. Evaluating our estimates within a structural model shows that spillovers in crime generate crime multipliers that continue to increase even after the primary impact of the initial shock on the focal individual has dissipated. From the model we further illustrate that crime prevention policies that target high crime individuals at an early stage of their lives are likely to lead to far larger reductions in the cost of crime than suggested by the primary effects alone.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Dustmann & Rasmus Landersø, 2018. "Child's Gender, Young Fathers' Crime, and Spillover Effects in Criminal Behavior," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1805, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1805
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati, 2012. "Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behavior: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 199-218, April.
    2. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2009. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 105-147.
    3. Douglas Almond & Joseph J. Doyle, 2011. "After Midnight: A Regression Discontinuity Design in Length of Postpartum Hospital Stays," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 1-34, August.
    4. Scott E. Carrell & Mark L. Hoekstra, 2010. "Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone's Kids," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 211-228, January.
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