Teen Births Keep American Crime High
The United States has a teenage birth rate that is high relative to that of other developed countries, and falling more slowly. Children of teenagers may experience difficult childhoods and hence be more likely to commit crimes subsequently. I assess to what extent lagged teen birth rates can explain why the United States had the highest developed country crime rates in the 1980s, and why US rates subsequently fell so much. For this purpose, I use internationally comparable crime rates measured from the 1989-2000 International Crime Victims Surveys. I find that an increase in the share of young people born to a teen mother increases the assault rate. The type of assault affected is perpetrated by unarmed lone assailants known to the victim by name, particularly at home or at work, and is not reported to the police. The pattern of teen births in the United States explains -30% of the relative fall in assaults by assailants known to the victim, but more than explains the 1980s gap with the rest of the world. I also present evidence on larceny and burglary.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Hunt, Jennifer. “Do Teen Births Keep American Crime High?” Journal of Law and Economics (October 2006).|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003.
"Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
- Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2002. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-029, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Sep 2003.
- Entorf, Horst & Spengler, Hannes, 2000.
"Socioeconomic and demographic factors of crime in Germany: Evidence from panel data of the German states,"
International Review of Law and Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 75-106, March.
- Entorf, Horst & Spengler, Hannes, 1998. "Socio-economic and demographic factors of crime in Germany: evidence from panel data of the German states," ZEW Discussion Papers 98-16, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1996.
"Why Is There More Crime in Cities?,"
NBER Working Papers
5430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1996. "Why is There More Crime in Cities?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1746, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Steven D. Levitt, 1998.
"Juvenile Crime and Punishment,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1156-1185, December.
- Stephen Machin & Costas Meghir, 2004.
"Crime and Economic Incentives,"
Journal of Human Resources,
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
- Robert Witt & Ann Dryden Witte, 1998. "Crime, Imprisonment, and Female Labor Force Participation: A Time-Series Approach," NBER Working Papers 6786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Donohue, John J. & Levitt, Steven D., 2000.
"The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime,"
Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series
qt00p599hk, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
- 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.
- Anindya Sen, 2002. "Does Increased Abortion Lead to Reduced Crime? Evaluating the Relationship between Crime, Abortion, and Fertility," Working Papers 02004, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2002.
- Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "Inequality and Violent Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 1-40, April.
- Morgan Kelly, 2000.
"Inequality And Crime,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 530-539, November.
- Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 1992. "Minimum Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0080, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Raphael, Steven & WINTER-EBMER, RUDOLF, 1998.
"Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime,"
University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series
qt5hb4h56g, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
- Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "Cross-city evidence on the relationship between immigration and crime," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 457-493.
- Sen Anindya, 2007. "Does Increased Abortion Lead to Lower Crime? Evaluating the Relationship between Crime, Abortion, and Fertility," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-38, September.
- Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "What causes violent crime?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1323-1357, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9632. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.