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Crime, Employment and Social Welfare: an Individual-level Study on Disadvantaged Males

Author

Listed:
  • Geert Mesters
  • Victor van der Geest
  • Catrien Bijleveld

    (VU University Amsterdam)

Abstract

We test economic and sociological theories for the relationship between employment and crime, where social welfare is used as an identifying mechanism. We consider a sample of disadvantaged males from The Netherlands who are observed between ages 18 and 32 on a monthly time scale. We simultaneously model the offending, employment and social welfare variables using a dynamic discrete choice model, where we allow for state dependence, reciprocal effects and time-varying unobserved heterogeneity. We find significant negative bi-directional structural effects between employment and property crime. Robustness checks show that only regular employment is able to significantly reduce the offending probability. Further, a significant uni-directional effect is found for the public assistance category of social welfare on property offending. The results highlight the importance of economic incentives for explaining the relationship between employment and crime for disadvantaged individuals. For these individuals the crime reducing effects from the public assistance category of social welfare equivalent to those from employment, which suggests the importance of financial gains. Further, the results suggest that stigmatizing effects from offending reduce the future employment probability.

Suggested Citation

  • Geert Mesters & Victor van der Geest & Catrien Bijleveld, 2014. "Crime, Employment and Social Welfare: an Individual-level Study on Disadvantaged Males," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-091/III, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20140091
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    dynamic discrete choice; strain; social control; state dependence; reciprocal; unobserved heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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