CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, July 17, 2015

Stevenson on The Path to Criminality in Juvenile Jails

Megan Stevenson (Quattrone Center- University of Pennsylvania Law School) has posted Breaking Bad: Mechanisms of Social Influence and the Path to Criminality in Juvenile Jails on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Using rich data on youths in juvenile correctional facilities, I conduct a series of tests of peer influence on future crime motivated by three mechanisms: criminal skill transfer, the formation of new criminal networks, and the social contagion of crime-oriented attitudes and behavioral habits. Identifying peer influence off of natural variation in small cohorts within the same facility, I find evidence consistent with the social contagion mechanism: exposure to peers who come from unstable homes and who have behavioral/emotional problems leads to a large increase in crime after release, as well as an increase in crime-oriented non-cognitive factors. I also find evidence consistent with persistent network formation, but only in settings which unite youths from the same local area. Multiple tests of the identifying assumptions support the causal argument.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2015/07/stevenson-on-the-path-to-criminality-in-juvenile-jails.html

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