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The Origins of Intergenerational Associations in Crime: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data

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  • Hjalmarsson, Randi

    () (Queen Mary, U. of London, School of Economics and Finance)

  • Lindquist, Matthew J.

    () (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

Abstract

We use Swedish adoption data combined with police register data to study parent-son associations in crime. For adopted sons born in Sweden, we have access to the criminal records of both the adopting and biological parents. This allows us to assess the relative importance of pre-birth factors (genes, prenatal environment and perinatal conditions) and post-birth factors for generating parent-son associations in crime. When considering the extensive margin, we find that pre-birth and post-birth factors are both important determinants of sons’ convictions and that mothers and fathers contribute equally through these two channels. At the intensive margin, pre-birth factors still matter, however post-birth factors appear to dominate. In particular, adopting mothers appear to matter most for the probability that sons will be convicted of multiple crimes and/or be sentenced to prison. We find little evidence of interaction effects between biological and adoptive parents’ criminal convictions. Having more highly educated adoptive parents, however, does appear to mitigate the impact of biological parents’ criminality.

Suggested Citation

  • Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew J., 2011. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations in Crime: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," Working Paper Series 11/2011, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2011_011
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    1. repec:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-018-0702-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Black, Sandra & Devereux, Paul J. & Lundborg, Petter & Majlesi, Kaveh, 2015. "On the Origins of Risk-Taking," CEPR Discussion Papers 10694, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Bethencourt, Carlos & Kunze, Lars, 2014. "On the intergenerational nature of criminal behavior," MPRA Paper 58344, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Karin Hederos Eriksson & Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist & Anna Sandberg, 2016. "The importance of family background and neighborhood effects as determinants of crime," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 219-262, January.
    5. Meghir, Costas & Palme, Mårten & Schnabel, Marieke, 2011. "The Effect of Education Policy on Crime: An Intergenerational Perspective," Research Papers in Economics 2011:23, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    6. Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2012. "Like Godfather, Like Son: Exploring the Intergenerational Nature of Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 550-582.
    7. E. Black , Sandra & Devereux, Paul & Lundborg, Petter & Majlesi, Kaveh, 2015. "Poor Little Rich Kids? The Determinants of the Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth," Knut Wicksell Working Paper Series 2015/6, Lund University, Knut Wicksell Centre for Financial Studies.
    8. Petter Lundborg & Martin Nordin & Dan Olof Rooth, 2018. "The intergenerational transmission of human capital: the role of skills and health," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(4), pages 1035-1065, October.
    9. repec:eee:labeco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:160-177 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Matthew J. Lindquist & Joeri Sol & Mirjam Van Praag, 2015. "Why Do Entrepreneurial Parents Have Entrepreneurial Children?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 269-296.
    11. Rud, Iryna & Van Klaveren, Chris & Groot, Wim & Maassen van den Brink, Henriëtte, 2014. "The externalities of crime: The effect of criminal involvement of parents on the educational attainment of their children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 89-103.
    12. Lundborg, Petter & Nordin, Martin & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Exploring the Role of Skills and Health Using Data on Adoptees and Twins," IZA Discussion Papers 6099, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Grönqvist, Hans & Niknami, Susan, 2014. "Alcohol availability and crime: Lessons from liberalized weekend sales restrictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 77-84.
    14. repec:eee:labeco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:147-148 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Thompson, Owen, 2014. "Genetic mechanisms in the intergenerational transmission of health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 132-146.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    adoption; crime; illegal behavior; intergenerational crime; intergenerational mobility; risky behavior.;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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