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Juvenile Crime and Punishment

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  • Steven D. Levitt

Abstract

Over the last two decades the punitiveness of the juvenile justice system has declined" substantially relative to the adult courts. During that same time period juvenile violent crime" rates have grown almost twice as quickly as adult crime rates. This paper examines the degree to" which those two empirical observations are related, finding that changes in relative punishments" can account for 60 percent of the differential growth rates in juvenile and adult violent crime" between 1978 and 1993. Juvenile offenders appear to be at least as responsive to criminal" sanctions as adults. Moreover, sharp changes in criminal involvement with the transition from" the juvenile to the adult court suggest that deterrence, rather than simply incapacitation important role. There does not, however, appear to be a strong relationship between the" punitiveness of the juvenile justice system that a cohort faces and the extent of criminal" involvement for that cohort later in life.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven D. Levitt, 1997. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," NBER Working Papers 6191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6191
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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.
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    5. Steven D. Levitt, 1996. "The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 319-351.
    6. Waldfogel, Joel, 1994. "Does conviction have a persistent effect on income and employment?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 103-119, March.
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    8. Lott, John R, Jr, 1992. "An Attempt at Measuring the Total Monetary Penalty from Drug Convictions: The Importance of an Individual's Reputation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 159-187, January.
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    11. Benson, Bruce L. & Rasmussen, David W. & Kim, Iljoong, 1998. "Deterrence and Public Policy: Trade-Offs in the Allocation of Police Resources," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 77-100, March.
    12. Grogger, Jeffrey, 1991. "Certainty vs. Severity of Punishment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 297-309, April.
    13. Tauchen, Helen & Witte, Ann Dryden & Griesinger, Harriet, 1994. "Criminal Deterrence: Revisiting the Issue with a Birth Cohort," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 399-412, August.
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    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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