The Impact of Adult Incarceration on Child Poverty: A County-Level Analysis, 1995-2007
35 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2009 Last revised: 20 Apr 2010
Date Written: August 1, 2009
Traditionally, research on the tremendous variation in the use of incarceration across time and space has focused on the issue of whether imprisoning more offenders reduces crime. More recently, research has begun to explore the collateral consequences of mass incarceration for the families and communities of those imprisoned. The current study adds to this burgeoning literature by examining the impact of incarceration rates on child poverty rates. Using a panel design for North Carolina county data, 1995-2007, we use instrumental variable techniques to disentangle the effect of incarceration on poverty from the effect of poverty on incarceration. The results indicate that increases in incarceration are associated with increases in child poverty rates. The impact of adult incarceration on child poverty appears especially pronounced in counties with a high proportion of non-white residents.
Keywords: incarceration, prison, child poverty, disadvantage
JEL Classification: C33, I30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation