Crime and Expected Punishment: Changes in Perceptions at the Age of Criminal Majority

Hjalmarsson, Randi
March 2009
American Law & Economics Review;Spring2009, Vol. 11 Issue 2, p209
Academic Journal
This paper assesses whether perceived punishment severity changes discontinuously when an individual becomes an adult in the eyes of the courts. I find that the perceived chance of jail increases by 5.2 percentage points at the age of criminal majority, which is over and above the general effect of aging. The magnitude of this subjective change in the chance of jail at the age of majority appears to be substantially smaller than that found in objective data. Finally, a reduced-form analysis of whether self-reported criminal behavior changes discontinuously at the age of criminal majority finds little consistent evidence of deterrence.


Related Articles

  • Postpartum psychosis, infanticide and the law. Maier-Katkin, Daniel // Crime, Law & Social Change;Mar91, Vol. 15 Issue 2, p109 

    In the past few years postpartum phychosis has been offered as a legal defense in a small number of deeply disturbing infanticide cases in several American jurisdictions. These cases have attracted a great deal of media attention, and fueled public discussion about the mental health of mothers...

  • DETERRENCE THEORY APPROACH TO SOCIOECONOMIC/DEMOGRAPHIC CORRELATES OF CRIME. Grasmick, Harold G.; Milligan Jr., Herman // Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press);Dec1976, Vol. 57 Issue 3, p608 

    Numerous studies report a significant negative relationship between legal punishment and rate and frequency of law violation. We found such a correlation using speed law violations and perceived risk of being caught and punished in the present study. But in addition, we discovered that the...

  • Revolving Cell Door.  // Atlantic;Mar2007, Vol. 299 Issue 2, p33 

    The article reports on the likelihood of prisoners to commit crimes once they are released. Harsh prison conditions may make criminals more likely to offend again. One study casts doubt on the model of deterrence which suggests that hard jail time will spook criminals away from wrong doing. The...

  • LEGAL PUNISHMENT AND SOCIAL STIGMA: A COMPARISON OF TWO DETERRENCE MODELS. Grasmick, Harold G.; Appleton, Lynn // Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press);Jun1977, Vol. 58 Issue 1, p15 

    This article explores the correlation between legal punishment and social stigmatization with respect to crime deterrence in the U.S. Formal punishment threat might be a deterrent only if the potential offender is likely to be stigmatized as a result of being apprehended and legally punished for...

  • What traffic wardens can teach us.  // New Statesman;1/23/2006, Vol. 135 Issue 4776, p18 

    The author comments on traffic wardens in Britain. Parking enforcement creates a climate in which people choose not to behave illegally. It works, drawing few complaints from those who accuse the government of destroying liberties. There is little doubt that this summary justice has helped...

  • Sanctions, Perceptions, and Crime: Implications for Criminal Deterrence. Apel, Robert // Journal of Quantitative Criminology;Mar2013, Vol. 29 Issue 1, p67 

    Objectives: A survey of empirical research concerning the determinants of an individual's perceptions of the risk of formal sanctions as a consequence of criminal behavior. The specific questions considered are: (1) How accurate is people's knowledge about criminal sanctions? (2) How do people...

  • Rational Misbehavior? Evaluating an Integrated Dual-Process Model of Criminal Decision Making. Gelder, Jean-Louis; Vries, Reinout // Journal of Quantitative Criminology;Mar2014, Vol. 30 Issue 1, p1 

    Objectives: Test the hypothesis that dispositional self-control and morality relate to criminal decision making via different mental processing modes, a 'hot' affective mode and a 'cool' cognitive one. Methods: Structural equation modeling in two studies under separate samples of undergraduate...

  • Sentence Length, Severity. and the Demand for Prison Space. Cloninger, Dale O. // Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press);Jun96, Vol. 77 Issue 2, p265 

    The article comments on the observations made by J.R. Clark and Dwight R. Lee, that increasing the actual length of prison sentences will serve as a deterrent to criminal behavior and result to decline in the demand for prison space. The deterrence hypothesis holds that longer expected prison...

  • MOTIVES OF REWARD AMONG MEN WHO RAPE. Hale, Robert // American Journal of Criminal Justice;Fall97, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p101 

    Perceptual deterrence research attempts to measure the effect of perceived certainty and severity of punishment in preventing criminal behavior, while considering the rewards (from the perception of the offender) of committing the crime. Many studies in the area of perceptual deterrence are...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics