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Homicides and the Age of Criminal Responsibility: A Density Discontinuity Approach

Francisco Costa, João S. De Faria (), Felipe Iachan () and Bárbara Caballero ()

Economía Journal, 2018, vol. Volume 19 Number 1, issue Fall 2018, 59-92

Abstract: We employ a density discontinuity design to evaluate the deterrence effect of more severe punishments around the legal age of criminal responsibility in Brazil. Motivated by the criminology literature, we propose a novel proxy based on the inherent risk underlying criminal activities. Using violent death rates as a proxy for an individual’s involvement in violent crime, we find no discernible deterrence effects. We additionally study arrest data from the country’s third most populous state, Rio de Janeiro, and discuss the advantages of our proxy in light of potential underreporting biases from using criminal records.

Keywords: Crime; deterrence; homicide; legal majority age (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J18 J22 K14 K42 O12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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