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Youth Criminal Participation and Household Economic Status

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  • David Bjerk

Abstract

This paper uses data from the NLSY97 to estimate the degree to which youth criminal participation is related to household economic status. The first part of the paper indicates that there exists a strong negative relationship between house- hold economic status and youth participation in serious crimes, with youth from households in the poorest third of the wealth distribution being over 65 percent more likely to have participated in a serious crime over the observation period than youth coming from households in the richest third of the wealth distribution. How- ever, I show that the strength of this estimated relationship will be significantly understated if crimes are not limited to being serious in nature and/or household income as opposed to household wealth is used to measure household economic sta- tus. The latter part of the paper then shows that most of the observed relationship between household wealth and youth participation in serious criminal activity can be accounted for by various measures of youth expectations of future opportunities, neighborhood criminal exposure, and investments in children by parents.

Suggested Citation

  • David Bjerk, 2004. "Youth Criminal Participation and Household Economic Status," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-10, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2004-10
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    File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/rsrch/papers/archive/2004-10-cpart_WP.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
    2. Jens Ludwig & Greg J. Duncan & Paul Hirschfield, 2001. "Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 655-679.
    3. Kessler, Daniel P & Levitt, Steven D, 1999. "Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 343-363, April.
    4. 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.
    5. Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1156-1185, December.
    6. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 235-260.
    7. Steven D. Levitt & Lance Lochner, 2001. "The Determinants of Juvenile Crime," NBER Chapters,in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 327-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Jeffrey Grogger, 1995. "The Effect of Arrests on the Employment and Earnings of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 51-71.
    9. 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.
    10. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    11. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-429, June.
    12. Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Crime and the Employment of Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1999. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 225-258, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sara B. Heller & Brian A. Jacob & Jens Ludwig, 2010. "Family Income, Neighborhood Poverty, and Crime," NBER Chapters,in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 419-459 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fairlie, Robert W., 2005. "The effects of home computers on school enrollment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 533-547, October.
    3. Ana Maria Ibanez & Catherine Rodriguez & David Zarruk, 2013. "Crime, Punishment, and Schooling Decisions: Evidence from Colombian Adolescents," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-413, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    4. Helen Tauchen, 2010. "Estimating the Supply of Crime: Recent Advances," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. repec:spr:empeco:v:53:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00181-016-1160-y is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Michelle Evans-Chase, 2014. "Addressing Trauma and Psychosocial Development in Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth: A Synthesis of the Developmental Neuroscience, Juvenile Justice and Trauma Literature," Laws, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 1-15, October.
    7. Ana Maria Ibanez & Catherine Rodriguez & David Zarruk, 2013. "Crime, Punishment, and Schooling Decisions: Evidence from Colombian Adolescents," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-413, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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