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

Posted: 25 Aug 2009  

Randi Hjalmarsson

University of Maryland - School of Public Policy

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: Spring 2009

Abstract

This paper assesses whether perceived punishment severity changes discontinuously when an individual becomes an adult in the eyes of the courts. I find that the perceived chance of jail increases by 5.2 percentage points at the age of criminal majority, which is over and above the general effect of aging. The magnitude of this subjective change in the chance of jail at the age of majority appears to be substantially smaller than that found in objective data. Finally, a reduced-form analysis of whether self-reported criminal behavior changes discontinuously at the age of criminal majority finds little consistent evidence of deterrence.

JEL Classification: D01, K42

Suggested Citation

Hjalmarsson, Randi, Crime and Expected Punishment: Changes in Perceptions at the Age of Criminal Majority (Spring 2009). American Law and Economics Review, Vol. 11, Issue 1, pp. 209-248, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1458791 or http://dx.doi.org/ahn016

Randi Hjalmarsson (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - School of Public Policy ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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