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Title: The Determinants of Juvenile Crime
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Levitt, Steven D.
Lochner, Lance John
The Determinants of Juvenile Crime
Working Paper, University of Chicago and American Bar Foundation, February 2000.
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: University of Chicago
Keyword(s): Adolescent Behavior; Behavior, Antisocial; Crime; Labor Market Demographics; Labor Market Studies, Geographic; State-Level Data/Policy

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

Criminal involvement in the United States rises sharply with the onset of adolescence, peaking in the late teenage years before dropping steadily thereafter. An eighteen-year old is five times more likely to be arrested for a property crime than a thirty-five year old; for violent crime the corresponding ratio is 2 to 1. In 1997, those aged 15-19 comprised roughly 7 percent of the overall population, but accounted for over 20 percent of arrests for violent offenses and roughly one-third of all property crime arrests.

This essay examines the issue of youth crime. We begin by laying out the basic facts and trends relevant to youth crime over the last thirty years. We then consider both the social costs of youth crime and the personal risks and costs borne by the criminals themselves. After reviewing the various hypotheses as to the determinants of crime identified in the previous literature, we present three new sets of estimates that shed light on the issue. The first set of regressions use the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) to explore the correlates of crime at the individual level. The second analysis focuses on census tract-level homicide data for the city of Chicago over a thirty year period. These data provide a means of better understanding the influence of social factors and local labor market conditions on youth crime. The final data set is a state-level panel covering fifteen years. The state-level analysis is ideal for examining the impact of the criminal justice system (and to a lesser extent economic factors). We use these three sets of estimates to determine the extent to which observed fluctuations in the correlates of crime can explain the time series pattern of juvenile crime over the last three decades.

Bibliography Citation
Levitt, Steven D. and Lance John Lochner. "The Determinants of Juvenile Crime." Working Paper, University of Chicago and American Bar Foundation, February 2000.