Youth Unemployment and Crime: New Lessons Exploring Longitudinal Register Data
This paper investigates the link between youth unemployment and crime using a unique combination of labor market and conviction data spanning the entire Swedish working-age population over an extended period. The empirical analysis reveals large and statistically significant effects of unemployment on several types of crime. The magnitude of the effect is similar across different subgroups of the population. In contrast to most previous studies, the results suggest that joblessness explain a meaningful portion of why male youths are overrepresented among criminal offenders. I discuss reasons for the discrepancy in the results and show that that the use of aggregated measures of labor market opportunities in past studies is likely to capture offsetting general equilibrium effects. Contrary to predictions by economic theory the effect of unemployment on crime is not mediated by income. Instead, an analysis of crimes committed during weekdays versus weekends provides suggestive evidence that unemployment increases the time that individuals have to engage in crime.
|Date of creation:||30 Mar 2011|
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