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Deterrence and age thresholds in punishment in British criminal law


  • Braakmann, Nils


This paper investigates the impact of three age thresholds in British criminal law on self-reported offending: the possibility of custody at age 15, the switch from juvenile to adult law at age 18 and the switch from young offender institutions to adult prisons at age 21. Using longitudinal data from 2003 to 2006 I find strong evidence of discontinuous drops in self-reported crime at age 18 and 21. The effects are robust to various specifications of the age-crime relationship and to the inclusion of a wide range of controls, including arrests, court appearances and imprisonment.

Suggested Citation

  • Braakmann, Nils, 2013. "Deterrence and age thresholds in punishment in British criminal law," MPRA Paper 44886, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:44886

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lawrence Katz & Steven D. Levitt & Ellen Shustorovich, 2003. "Prison Conditions, Capital Punishment, and Deterrence," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 318-343, August.
    2. 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.
    3. H. Naci Mocan & Daniel I. Rees, 2005. "Economic Conditions, Deterrence and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from Micro Data," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 319-349.
    4. Randi Hjalmarsson, 2009. "Juvenile Jails: A Path to the Straight and Narrow or to Hardened Criminality?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 779-809, November.
    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. 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.
    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. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Pietro Vertova, 2009. "The Deterrent Effects of Prison: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 257-280, April.
    9. Eric Helland & Alexander Tabarrok, 2007. "Does Three Strikes Deter?: A Nonparametric Estimation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
    10. Iyengar, Radha, 2009. "Does the certainty of arrest reduce domestic violence? Evidence from mandatory and recommended arrest laws," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 85-98, February.
    11. Bruce L. Benson & Simon W. Bowmaker, 2005. "Economics of crime," Chapters,in: Economics Uncut, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    More about this item


    deterrence; economic model of crime; juvenile law; severity of punishment; crime;

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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