Crime and Circumstance: The Effects of Infant Health Shocks on Fathers&Apos; Criminal Activity

42 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2006 Last revised: 9 May 2021

See all articles by Hope Corman

Hope Corman

Rider University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kelly Noonan

Rider University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Nancy E. Reichman

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Ofira Schwartz-Soicher

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)

Date Written: December 2006

Abstract

Few studies in the economics literature have linked individuals' criminal behavior to changes in their personal circumstances. Life shocks, such as natural or personal disasters, could reduce or sever a person's connections to his/her family, job, or community. With fewer connections, crime may become a more attractive option. This study addresses the question of whether an exogenous shock in life circumstances affects criminal activity. Specifically, we estimate the effects of the birth of a child with a random and serious health problem (versus the birth of a healthy infant) on the likelihood that the child's father becomes or remains involved in illegal activities. Controlling for the father's pre-birth criminal activity, we find that the shock of having a child with a serious health problem increases both the father's post-birth conviction and incarceration by 1 to 8 percentage points, depending on the measure of infant health used.

Suggested Citation

Corman, Hope and Noonan, Kelly and Reichman, Nancy E. and Schwartz-Soicher, Ofira, Crime and Circumstance: The Effects of Infant Health Shocks on Fathers&Apos; Criminal Activity (December 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12754, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=949763

Hope Corman (Contact Author)

Rider University ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Kelly Noonan

Rider University ( email )

2083 Lawrenceville Road
Lawrenceville Township, NJ 08648
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Nancy E. Reichman

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School ( email )

97 Paterson Street
Room 435
New Brunswick, NJ 08903
United States

Ofira Schwartz-Soicher

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) ( email )

P.O. Box 1709
Newark, NJ 07101
United States

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