Economic Conditions, Deterrence and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from Micro Data

52 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2000 Last revised: 28 Mar 2021

See all articles by Naci H. Mocan

Naci H. Mocan

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 1999

Abstract

This is the first paper to test the economic model of crime for juveniles using micro data. It uses a nationally representative sample of 16,478 high school children surveyed in 1995. The sample includes not only detailed information on offenses, but also data on personal, family and neighborhood characteristics as well as deterrence measures. We analyze the determinants of selling drugs, committing assault, robbery, burglary and theft, separately for males and females. We find that an increase in violent crime arrests reduces the probability of selling drugs and assaulting someone for males, and reduces the probability of selling drugs and stealing for females. An increase in local unemployment increases the propensity to commit crimes, as does local poverty. Similarly, family poverty increases the probability to commit robbery, burglary and theft for males, and assault and burglary for females. Local characteristics are more important for females than males. The results also indicate that family supervision has an impact on delinquent behavior. These results show that juveniles do respond to incentives and sanctions as predicted by economic theory. Employment opportunities, increased family income and more strict deterrence are effective tools to reduce juvenile crime.

Suggested Citation

Mocan, Naci H. and Rees, Daniel I., Economic Conditions, Deterrence and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from Micro Data (October 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w7405, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=193632

Naci H. Mocan (Contact Author)

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of economics
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-6308
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80218
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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