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Title: Essays on the Economics of Juvenile Crime and Education
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Litwok, Daniel
Essays on the Economics of Juvenile Crime and Education
Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, Michigan State University, 2015
Cohort(s): NLSY97
Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT)
Keyword(s): Adolescent Behavior; Benefits; Crime; Delinquency/Gang Activity; Educational Attainment; Evaluations; Geocoded Data; Labor Market Outcomes; Occupations; Pensions; State-Level Data/Policy

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

This dissertation consists of three independent chapters. The first chapter focuses on the effects of expungement of records of juvenile delinquency. Despite differing terminology, all fifty states and the District of Columbia have statutory remedies allowing records of juvenile delinquency to be treated as if they do not exist, eliminating the possibility that a future college or employer may learn of the record. Whereas most states require an application for such "expungement" of a juvenile record, in fourteen states the expungement is automatic. To study the effect of expungement on youths, I develop a conceptual model to consider the dynamic incentives created by automatic expungement that predicts an increase in the incentives to initially commit crime but a reduction in the incentives to commit additional crime as an adult. Using unique data I obtain from three application states, I show that expungement is rarely used when an application is required. Based on these statistics and predictions in the conceptual framework, I use survey data to estimate the effects of expungement on juvenile arrest, recidivism as an adult, educational attainment, and future labor market outcomes. I find no response to the incentive for first time offenders in automatic states, but I do find a negative effect on long-term recidivism. I also find modest positive effects of expungement on pursuit of higher education and future earnings. These findings suggest that expungement is socially beneficial with limited social costs.

The second chapter continues to focus on juvenile crime by studying the effects of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws on teenage crime. Although GDL laws were adopted to reduce the risk associated with novice driving, I investigate a different potential effect of these laws: might the benefits of GDL extend beyond driver safety and also reduce juvenile crime? GDL laws effectively impose a statutory driving curfew and a limitation on the number of passengers in motor vehicles. Both the timing of motor vehicle access and a limitation on the peer influences available in a motor vehicle could significantly affect the set of potential offenders and the marginal costs for certain crimes. Using a differencing strategy based on the implementation of GDL, I find evidence that these laws reduce violent and property crime among 16 year olds. I then show that nighttime restrictions are the component of GDL most responsible for the reduction in crime. These results suggest that there is another benefit to states for adopting GDL laws and provide insight into the production of teenage crime.

The third chapter, co-authored with Leslie Papke, studies the response of young teachers to changes in their retirement compensation. Several states have recently enacted reforms in an effort to reduce their future pension obligations, but the vast majority of public school teachers continue to be covered by defined benefit plans. While these defined benefit plans' strong retirement incentives have been the focus of much research, we focus instead on the early years of a teacher's career. We illustrate state differences in the actuarial present value of a teacher's pension wealth upon vesting. Then, we show that pension characteristics relevant to the early years of a teacher's career are negatively related to the fraction of younger teachers in a state. Finally, we use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to study the first exit from teaching for new teachers. We find that pension parameters, such as vesting requirements and availability of defined contribution alternatives, are significantly related to first exit from teaching. Our preferred estimates indicate that young teachers are 11 percentage points more likely to exit teaching in a state that increases its vesting rule from five to 10 years.

Bibliography Citation
Litwok, Daniel. Essays on the Economics of Juvenile Crime and Education. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, Michigan State University, 2015.