American Economic Review: Vol. 104 No. 6 (June 2014)

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Does Growing Up in a High Crime Neighborhood Affect Youth Criminal Behavior?

Article Citation

Damm, Anna Piil, and Christian Dustmann. 2014. "Does Growing Up in a High Crime Neighborhood Affect Youth Criminal Behavior?" American Economic Review, 104(6): 1806-32.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.6.1806

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of early exposure to neighborhood crime on subsequent criminal behavior of youth exploiting a unique natural experiment between 1986 and 1998 when refugee immigrants to Denmark were assigned to neighborhoods quasi-randomly. We find strong evidence that the share of young people convicted for crimes, in particular violent crimes, in the neighborhood increases convictions of male assignees later in life. No such effects are found for other measures of neighborhood crime including the rate of committed crimes. Our findings suggest social interaction as a key channel through which neighborhood crime is linked to individual criminal behavior.

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Online Appendix (501.90 KB) | Download Data Set (941.17 KB) | Author Disclosure Statement(s) (48.20 KB)

Authors

Damm, Anna Piil (Aarhus U)
Dustmann, Christian (U College London)

JEL Classifications

J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
J15: Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
K42: Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
R23: Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics
Z13: Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification


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