The Extensive and Intensive Impacts of Criminal Law on the Incidence of Crime: Evidence from Statutory-Rape-Law Expansions and Teenage Pregnancies
Cornell University - Law School
Matthew C. Harding
Stanford University - Department of Economics
June 6, 2013
Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-89
We explore the deterrent impacts of statutory rape laws, drawing on substantial within-state variation in criminal statutes over time. Our analysis facilitates an evaluation of both the impact of initially criminalizing previously permissible activities — a largely unexplored margin — and the subsequent impact of severity enhancements. We proxy the targeted behavior using live birth rates among mothers of different ages. Using a novel methodological framework designed to codify multi-faceted legal structures, our results are consistent with a deterrent impact of statutory rape laws, though one arising predominantly from the initial incidence of an operable felony statute itself.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 57
Keywords: criminal law, deterrence, statutory rape, public health
JEL Classification: K14, K42, I18working papers series
Date posted: June 9, 2013 ; Last revised: October 18, 2013
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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