Crime and Expected Punishment: Changes in Perceptions at the Age of Criminal Majority

34 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2007

See all articles by Randi Hjalmarsson

Randi Hjalmarsson

University of Maryland - School of Public Policy

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 30, 2007

Abstract

This paper utilizes an inherent 'policy' change that exists in the U.S. justice system to assess whether changes in subjective expectations correspond to changes in objective measures. Specifically, I assess whether perceived punishment severity changes discontinuously when an individual becomes an adult in the eyes of the courts. At this age, I find that the perceived chance of jail increases by 4.5 to 6.0 percentage points, over and above the general effect of ageing. Relative to objective measures, individuals greatly overestimate the chance of jail but underestimate the change in the chance of jail at the age of majority.

Keywords: subjective expectations, crime, punishment severity

JEL Classification: K42, D01

Suggested Citation

Hjalmarsson, Randi, Crime and Expected Punishment: Changes in Perceptions at the Age of Criminal Majority (June 30, 2007). 2nd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1002390 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1002390

Randi Hjalmarsson (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - School of Public Policy ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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