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Crime and Circumstance: The Effects of Infant Health Shocks on Fathers' Criminal Activity

Author

Listed:
  • Hope Corman
  • Kelly Noonan
  • Nancy E. Reichman
  • Ofira Schwartz-Soicher

Abstract

Few studies in the economics literature have linked individuals' criminal behavior to changes in their personal circumstances. Life shocks, such as natural or personal disasters, could reduce or sever a person's connections to his/her family, job, or community. With fewer connections, crime may become a more attractive option. This study addresses the question of whether an exogenous shock in life circumstances affects criminal activity. Specifically, we estimate the effects of the birth of a child with a random and serious health problem (versus the birth of a healthy infant) on the likelihood that the child's father becomes or remains involved in illegal activities. Controlling for the father's pre-birth criminal activity, we find that the shock of having a child with a serious health problem increases both the father's post-birth conviction and incarceration by 1 to 8 percentage points, depending on the measure of infant health used.

Suggested Citation

  • Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman & Ofira Schwartz-Soicher, 2006. "Crime and Circumstance: The Effects of Infant Health Shocks on Fathers' Criminal Activity," NBER Working Papers 12754, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12754 Note: CH HC HE LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Raphael, Steven & Winter-Ember, Rudolf, 2001. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 259-283, April.
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    5. Corman, Hope & Mocan, Naci, 2005. "Carrots, Sticks, and Broken Windows," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 235-266, April.
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    7. Amanda Geller & Irwin Garfinkel & Bruce Western, 2006. "The Effects of Incarceration on Employment and Wages An Analysis of the Fragile Families Survey," Working Papers 932, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    8. Nancy Reichman & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan, 2004. "Effects of child health on parents’ relationship status," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(3), pages 569-584, August.
    9. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Demand for Sons: Evidence from Divorce, Fertility, and Shotgun Marriage," NBER Working Papers 10281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    13. Reichman, Nancy E. & Teitler, Julien O. & Garfinkel, Irwin & McLanahan, Sara S., 2001. "Fragile Families: sample and design," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 303-326.
    14. H. Naci Mocan & Hope Corman, 2000. "A Time-Series Analysis of Crime, Deterrence, and Drug Abuse in New York City," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 584-604, June.
    15. Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman & Hope Corman, 2005. "New Fathers' Labor Supply: Does Child Health Matter?," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 86(s1), pages 1399-1417.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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