Do Greater Sanctions Deter Youth Crime? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design

43 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2018 Last revised: 30 Oct 2018

See all articles by Nicholas Lovett

Nicholas Lovett

University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

Yuhan Xue

University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

Date Written: October 25, 2018

Abstract

We exploit the discontinuous jump in criminal sanctions at the age of majority in conjunction with administrative data from California to generate regression discontinuity estimates of the deterrent effect. Estimates show that the greater severity imposed upon adolescents at age 18 deters violent crime by 10-12%. Results are robust to multiple techniques and specifications. Using these results, we estimate an elasticity of crime with respect to sanction intensity that ranges from -0.145 to -0.174. We extend our results to demographic sub-populations and find female offenders, as well as white and Asian offenders, are relatively more responsive to sanctions.

Keywords: Juvenile Crime, Deterrence, Regression Discontinuity

JEL Classification: I38, J13, K42

Suggested Citation

Lovett, Nicholas and Xue, Yuhan, Do Greater Sanctions Deter Youth Crime? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design (October 25, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3116414 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3116414

Nicholas Lovett

University of Wisconsin - Whitewater ( email )

800 West Main Street
Whitewater, WI 53190
United States

Yuhan Xue (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Whitewater ( email )

800 West Main Street
Whitewater, WI 53190
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
178
Abstract Views
968
rank
166,597
PlumX Metrics