Juvenile Law and Recidivism in Germany - New Evidence from the Old Continent

Stefan Pichler

Darmstadt University of Technology; Goethe University Frankfurt

Daniel Römer

Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW)

December 12, 2011

In this paper, we analyze the effect of the criminal justice system on juvenile recidivism. Using a unique sample of German inmates, we are able to disentangle the selection into criminal and juvenile law from the subsequent recidivism decision of the inmate. We base our identification strategy on two distinct methods. First, we jointly estimate selection and recidivism in a bivariate probit model. In a second step, we use a discontinuity in law assignment created by German legislation and apply a (fuzzy) regression discontinuity design. In contrast to the bulk of the literature, which mainly relies on US data, we do not find that the application of criminal law increases juvenile recidivism. Rather, our results suggest that sentencing adolescents as adults reduces recidivism in Germany.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 45

Keywords: crime, juvenile recidivism, regression discontinuity, bivariate probit

JEL Classification: K42, K14, C21, C14

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Date posted: January 17, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Pichler, Stefan and Römer, Daniel, Juvenile Law and Recidivism in Germany - New Evidence from the Old Continent (December 12, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1986789 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1986789

Contact Information

Stefan Pichler
Darmstadt University of Technology ( email )
Marktplatz 15
Darmstadt, 64289
Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )
Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Daniel Römer (Contact Author)
Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) ( email )
P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1
D-68034 Mannheim, 68034
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