On the Measurement and Identification of Turning Points in Criminology

Posted: 10 Feb 2018

See all articles by Holly Nguyen

Holly Nguyen

University of Maryland - Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Thomas Loughran

University of Maryland

Date Written: January 2018

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Nguyen, Holly and Loughran, Thomas, On the Measurement and Identification of Turning Points in Criminology (January 2018). Annual Review of Criminology, Vol. 1, pp. 335-358, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3120375 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-criminol-032317-091949

Holly Nguyen (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Thomas Loughran

University of Maryland ( email )

2220 LeFrak Hall
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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