On the Measurement and Identification of Turning Points in Criminology
Posted: 10 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 2018
Since their introduction to criminology, turning points have been of substantial theoretical and empirical focus for scholars of desistance. In this review, we consider how criminologists have sought to identify change in the criminal career by reflecting on the identification and measurement of turning points. We contend that important life events, such as marriage and employment, are endogenous to the desistance process and as such present challenges for scholars regarding the causal identification of turning points. Specifically, we argue that both selection bias and simultaneity bias are fundamental principles of the life-course framework. We present a formal way to think about the causal identification of turning points in the face of endogeneity and also consider several conceptual issues relating to the definition and measurement of turning points. In the end, we encourage scholars to adopt creative methodological strategies to unpack turning points.
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