Crime and Expected Punishment: Changes in Perceptions at the Age of Criminal Majority
34 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2007
Date Written: June 30, 2007
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: Suggested Citation