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Crime and Circumstance: The Effects of Infant Health Shocks on Fathers' Criminal Activity

Hope Corman, Kelly Noonan, Nancy E. Reichman and Ofira Schwartz-Soicher

No 12754, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

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.

JEL-codes: I1 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law and nep-soc
Note: CH EH LS
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Published as Corman, H., Noonan, K., Reichman, N., Schwartz-Soicher. 2011. Life Shocks and Crime: A Test of the “Turning Point” Hypothesis. Demography 48(3): 1177–1202.

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