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Labor Force Participation, Labor Markets, and Crime, Final Report

NCJ Number
Robert D. Crutchfield; Tim Wadsworth; Heather Groninger; Kevin Drakulich
Date Published
May 2006
110 pages
This study examined how employment and educational experiences as well as characteristics of the neighborhood of residence interacted to influence young adults' involvement in crime.
A modest relationship was found between employment experiences and crime involvement. Those who were employed were less likely to report committing a crime in the year prior to their interview. Those involved in low skilled, less satisfying, and/or temporary jobs were more likely to have committed crimes. These findings, however, were true only for the young adults in urban areas, not those in rural areas. In rural areas, employment was unrelated to young adult criminality. Neighborhood characteristics were found to have little direct influence on the criminal behavior of young adults, and the fact or characteristics of employment were not related to the level of disadvantage of the neighborhood where respondents lived. Apparently local labor markets were more important than neighborhood characteristics in determining employment experiences. Educational experience, most notably attachment to school and to lesser extent respondents' grades, was modestly related to criminal behavior. The influence of grades on delinquency was conditioned by neighborhood disadvantage, the proportion of residents in marginal jobs, and the proportion of adults who held high school diplomas. The researchers recommend making school and educational experience the primary focus for delinquency prevention. The two datasets used in the study are referred to as the Children of the NLSY and the NLSY97. These data were combined with the 2000 census data. The NLSY97 cohort consists of approximately 9,000 youths, ages 12-16, initially assessed in 1997 and followed every year thereafter. It is designed to represent youths living in the United States in 1997 who were born in the years 1980-84. The respondents were between the ages of 18 and 20 when last interviewed. 14 tables and appended variable descriptions