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

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  • Hope Corman

    (Rider University and National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Kelly Noonan

    (Rider University and National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Nancy E. Reichman

    (Robert Wood Johnson Medical School)

  • Ofira Schwartz-Soicher

    (Robert Wood Johnson Medical School)

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," Working Papers 913, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:crcwel:wp06-35-ff.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    10. Greg Duncan & Bessie Wilkerson & Paula England, 2006. "Cleaning up their act: The effects of marriage and cohabitation on licit and illicit drug use," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(4), pages 691-710, November.
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