The Family and Delinquency
Llad Phillips
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The Family and Delinquency
What is the role of the family in causing or
preventing delinquency?
 How important is the family in considering
possible causes of delinquency?

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The Importance of Causality
A theme in this course
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Schematic of the Criminal Justice System
Causes ?!!
“T he Driving Force”
Weak Link
Offense
Rate P er
Capita
Crime Generation
Expenditures
Crime Control
Reference: Lecture Six
Expected
Cost of
Punishment
(detention,
deterrence)
Reference: Lecture Four
California Index Expenses and Criminal Justice System
.
Expenditures, Both Per Capita, 1967-68 to 1997-98
.
600
1997-98
1992 $ Per Capita
500
400
1980-81
300
1967-68
200
100
0
0
0.005
0.01
0.015
0.02
0.025
0.03
0.035
0.04
0.045
CA Index Offenses Per Capita
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California Index Offenses and Criminal Justice System .
Expenditures, both per capita, 1967-68:1992-93
500
450
199 2-93
400
1992 $ Per Capita
350
300
198 0-81
250
200
196 7-68
150
100
50
0
0
0.005
0.01
Reference: Lecture Six
0.015
0.02
0.025
Index Offenses Per Capita
0.03
.
0.035
0.04
Social Institutions Shaping Youth
Education
System
Family
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Community
8
Viewpoints About the Family
and Delinquency
Travis Hirschi: a weak child-parent bond or
attachment explains delinquency(1969)
 Joseph Rankin: homes with both biological
parents missing explains running away,
truancy, and auto theft(1983)
 Sheppard Kellam, M. Ensminger, and R. J.
Turner: Being raised by a mother alone
explains delinquency(1977)

Source: Glenn C. Loury, Ch 1 of Families, Schools, and
Delinquency Prevention, eds. James Q. Wilson and Glenn C. Loury
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Trends Affecting Families
Changes in Family Structure
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Marriage and Divorce Rates Per 1000 Population, US
.
12
10
8
Marriages
6
4
2
Year
Source: US Statistical Abstract
1992
1989
1986
1983
1980
1977
1974
1971
1968
1965
1962
1959
1956
1953
0
1950
Rate
Divorces
Marriage Rates
Source: Center for Disease Control, CDC
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Number of Divorces and Children Affected
Source: Center for Disease Control, CDC
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Age Specific Divorce Rates, men and Women
Source: Center for Disease Control, CDC
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Divorce Rates by Duration of Marriage
Source: Center for Disease Control, CDC
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US Marrige Rates Per 1000 Population, .
Unmarried Women 15-44 Years Old
160
140
120
80
60
40
20
Year
Source: US Statistical Abstract
1994
1992
1990
1988
1986
1984
1982
1980
1978
1976
1974
1972
0
1970
Rate
100
Median Age at First Marriage, US
.
30
25
15
Women
Men
10
5
Year
Source: US Statistical Abstract
1990
1988
1986
1984
1982
1980
1978
1976
1974
1972
0
1970
Age
20
US Families Headed By Women in Percent
.
45
40
35
White
Black
Percent
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
1940
1950
1960
1970
1983
Year
Source: Glenn C. Loury, Ch 1 of Families, Schools, and Delinquency Prevention, eds.
James Q. Wilson and Glenn C. Loury
Post World War II Phenomenon

“In 1925, approximately 85 perent of black
families living in Harlem were intact, and
the teenage mother raising her children
alone was virtually unknown...”
Source: Glenn C. Loury, Ch 1 of Families, Schools, and Delinquency Prevention,
eds. James Q. Wilson and Glenn C. Loury
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Percentage of Births Occuring Out of Wedlock, .
White Women by Age Group, US
.
35
30
Percent
25
15-19
20-24
25-29
20
15
10
5
0
1955
1960
1965
1970
1975
1980
Year
Source: Glenn C. Loury, Ch 1 of Families, Schools, and Delinquency Prevention,
eds. James Q. Wilson and Glenn C. Loury
Percentage of Births Occurring Out of Wedlock, .
Black Mothers By Age Group, US
90
80
70
15-19
20-24
25-29
Percent
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
1955
1960
1965
1970
1975
1980
Year
Source: Glenn C. Loury, Ch 1 of Families, Schools, and Delinquency Prevention,
eds. James Q. Wilson and Glenn C. Loury
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Birth Rates for Unmarried Women By Age of Mother
Source: Center for Disease Control, CDC
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Per Cent Low Birth Weight By Age of Mother
Source: Center for Disease Control, CDC
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“The Rotten Kid Theorem”

Reference: Jack Hirshleifer, “The
Expanding Domain of Economics”
 Figure
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Daughter’s
Income
Father’s Income
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Daughter’s Selfish Preferences: UD = UD(YD)
Daughter’s
Income, YD
Best
Better
Good
Father’s Income, YF
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Daughter’s
Income
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Family Joint Income
Opportunities When
Both the Child and
Parent Agree
Father’s Income
28
Short-sighted selfish
daughter prefers
point R
Daughter’s
Income
R
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Father’s Income
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Daughter’s
Income
Family Income = Daughter’s
Income + Father’s Income
Father’s Income
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Daughter’s
Income
Family Income Is
Maximum At Point J
R
J
Father’s Income
How Does the Parent Induce
the Selfish Child to Act in the
Family Interest?
Did King Lear Have It Right?
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Father’s Altruistic Preferences: UF = UF(YD , YF)
Daughter’s
Income
Father’s Income
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Why Does The Parent Care For
The Child?

Darwinian (evolutionary) motive: survival
of the genes
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Daughter’s
Income
A
R
If the father is sufficiently
altruistic, then the daughter’s
enlightened self-interest is to
prefer point A, and she can be
induced to behave in a
cooperative way, allowing point
J that leads to point A
J
Father’s Income
If the father is insufficiently
altruistic, then the daughter
will prefer point R to point B
and, as a result, family income
and fortunes will be lower
Daughter’s
Income
R
B
J
Father’s Income
So, Love, Not Greed, Makes the
World Go ‘Round

In what kind of environment does love and
caring flourish?
 both
biological parents are present
 educated, enlightened self-interest
 a family with enough time and resources to care
for one another
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National Longitudinal Survey of
Youth
survey of 14-23 year olds
 self-report information about contact with
the criminal justice system for -1979

 ever
stopped by the police
 ever charged with a crime
 ever convicted of a crime
family income
 family structure when youth was age 14

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National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY)
14-23 years
of age
Report:
never
stopped
Report:
ever
stopped
28.5%
Report:
never
charged
Report:
ever
charged
17.4%
Report:
never
convicted
Report:
ever
convicted
10.1%
NLSY: Family Structure, Age 14
Family Structure Frequency, % % Ever Charged
Father-Mother
69.1
15.0
Mother-No Man
16.0
19.6
Mother-Stepfather
6.4
28.9
Father-Stepmother
1.8
12.4
Father-No Woman
1.3
22.6
Other Strucures
5.4
24.7
4,927 boys and young men, ages 14-23
Source: William Comanor and Llad Phillips,
“The Effect of Family Structure on Teen Delinquency”
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NLSY: Family Structure, Age 14
Family Structure Frequency, % %, Ever Given
Birth
Father-Mother
66.5
3.5
Mother-No Man
18.8
10.6
Mother-Stepfather
6.8
7.1
Father-Stepmother
1.0
6.2
Father-No Woman
0.8
3.8
Other Structures
6.0
9.0
3119 girls and young women, ages 14-19, never married
Source: William Comanor and Llad Phillips,
“The Effect of Family Structure on Teen Delinquency”
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So, Love, Not Greed, Makes the
World Go ‘Round

In what kind of environment does love and
caring flourish?
 both
biological parents are present
 educated, enlightened self-interest
 a family with enough time and resources to care
for one another
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The Importance of Social
Institutions
Family: social control; human capital
 School: social control; human capital
 Religious organizations: moral compliance
 Community groups and centers

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Question: Why are people violent?


Before the agricultural societies in Mesopotamia and
the Nile Valley, people were hunters and gatherers and
shepherds and tended to fear strangers (And fight
them) Paul Seabright, The Company of Strangers, A
Natural History of Economic Life(2004) Princeton U.
After people settled down as farmers they needed
social institutions to help them interact with strangers
 Markets
allowed people to deal productively with strangers
 Legal systems and governments allowed settlement of
disputes

Adam Smith; The Wealth of Nations(1776)
 “It
is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or
the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to
their own interest.”
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THE UNITED STATES
CONSTITUTION

We the People of the United States, in Order
to form a more perfect Union, establish
Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide
for the common defence, promote the
general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of
Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do
ordain and establish this Constitution for the
United States of America
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What Leads to the Loss of Social
Control?
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Social Control of Citizenry

Civil law and authority
 First
line of defense: moral compliance and good
citizenship
 Second line of defense: deterrence (the threat of
punishment)
 Third line of defense: detention

Martial law and authority
 Fourth
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line of defense: National Guard and the Army
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100 %
Percent
Control
Riot
99%
98%
Martial
Law
Civil Law
Moral
Deterrence
Compliance
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Detention
National Guard
48
Why Is the Imprisonment Rate
So High in the USA?

0.74 %
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The U.S. Incarceration Rate is Higher than for Russia,
and South Africa; 7 times Italy and 8 times France
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Is It Because the US Murder
Rate Is So High?
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#24 USA 0.04 per 1000
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http://www.nationmaster.com/
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Is It Because the US Crime Rate
Is So High?
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What Are We Afraid Of?
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100 %
0.74% Prison
Percent
Control
99.3%
Riot
99%
98%
Martial
Law
Civil Law
Moral
Deterrence
Compliance
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Detention
National Guard
56
We Are In the Third Line of
Defense: Detention


Are we close to the edge?
Are we in danger of slipping out of civil authority?
 Instances-
1992: LA riot: worse than the 1965 Watts riot
13 dead
 192 injured
 Governor Pete Wilson activated more than 2000 National
Guardsmen, mostly military police, to secure areas in Los
Angeles

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That’s All Folks
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Probability of Ever Being Charged Vs. Family Income
.
0.35
Father Present
Father Absent
0.3
Probability
0.25
0.2
0.15
0.1
0.05
0
0
10000
20000
30000
40000
50000
60000
70000
80000
Family Income
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lecture 9 the family and crime