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Abstract

Policymakers have often been explicit in expanding statutory rape laws to reduce teenage pregnancies and live births by teenage mothers, often with the goal of reducing associated welfare outlays. In this paper, we explore whether expansions in such laws are indeed associated with reductions in teen birth rates. In order to codify statutory-rape-law expansions, we use a national micro-level sample of sexual encounters to simulate the degree to which such encounters generally implicate the relevant laws. By codifying statutory rape laws in terms of their potential reach into sexual encounters, as opposed to using crude binary treatment variables, this simulation approach facilitates the use of multi-state difference-in-difference designs in the face of highly heterogeneous legal structures. Our results suggest that live birth rates for teenage mothers fall by roughly 4.5% (or 0.1 percentage points) upon a 1 standard-deviation increase in the share of sexual activity among a given age group that triggers a felony for the elder party to the encounter. This response, however, is highly heterogeneous across ages and weakens notably in the case of the older teen years. Furthermore, we do not find strong results suggesting a further decline in birth rates upon increases in punishment severities.

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... Yet, coercive paternalistic law raises several concerns. Firstly, it is mobilised by an unsubstantiated belief in the preventive effects of coercive law (Valverde 2014) and its ability to constitute a normative framework for both youth sexuality and sexual ethics (Frakes and Harding 2015;Godsoe 2015Godsoe , 2017Oberman 2013, 369). Additionally, coercive paternalistic law can reproduce objects of protection as perpetrators who are 'marginalised and punished' by those self-same laws (Godsoe 2015;Ocen 2015;Valverde 2014). ...
... This contradiction between a deterrent aspiration and the prevalence of techno-social practices, illustrates the flawed premise of using the coercive, punitive and constitutive functions of the law to set standards for consensual sexual morality and digital ethics. Moreover, there are longstanding critiques of similarly paternalistic regulatory approaches to consensual youth sexual activity (Frakes and Harding 2015;Godsoe 2015Godsoe , 2017Oberman 2013, 369). This gap is compounded by technology as the fora and techniques of techno-social sexual engagement shift quickly and have been readily interwoven into everyday social practices. ...
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... As there is no research to date to substantiate that a cut-off of 21 years of age correctly captures important distinguishing case characteristics (e.g., victim risk, perceived coercion), it is unclear which state laws-those creating a cut-off or those without one-are functioning as intended. The data showing that over half of statutory rape offenders may be 21 and younger raise such questions (Cohen, 2009;Frakes & Harding, 2015;High, 2016;Robinson & Williams, 2017) as well as raise the question of why research has yet to ask questions about a 21-year-of-age divide. To the best of our knowledge, research has yet to examine any presumption of less harm (coercion and other risks) coming to adolescent victims involved with offenders younger than 21 versus older or to speak to whether we need to worry that states' statutory rape laws vary with regard to whether and where they draw their offender age lines (Glosser et al., 2004). ...
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Recently economists have begun to consider the causes and consequences of religious participation. An unanswered question in this literature is the effect upon individuals of changes in the opportunity cost of religious participation. In this paper we identify a policy-driven change in the opportunity cost of religious participation based on state laws that prohibit retail activity on Sunday, known as "blue laws." Many states have repealed these laws in recent years, raising the opportunity cost of religious participation. We use a variety of data sets to show that when a state repeals its blue laws religious attendance falls and that church donations and spending fall as well. These results do not seem to be driven by declines in religiosity prior to the law change, nor do we see comparable declines in membership in or giving to nonreligious organizations after a state repeals its laws. We then assess the effects of changes in these laws on drinking and drug use behavior in the NLSY. We find that repealing blue laws leads to an increase in drinking and drug use and that this increase is found only among the initially religious individuals who were affected by the blue laws. The effect is economically significant; for example, the gap in heavy drinking between religious and nonreligious individuals falls by about half after the laws are repealed. (c) 2008 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..
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The authors study the effect of public insurance for children on their utilization of medical care and health outcomes by exploiting recent expansions of the Medicaid program to low-income children. These expansions doubled the fraction of children eligible for Medicaid between 1984 and 1992. Take-up of these expansions was much less than full, however, even among otherwise uninsured children. Despite this take-up problem, eligibility for Medicaid significantly increased the utilization of medical care, particularly care delivered in physicians' offices. Increased eligibility was also associated with a sizable and significant reduction in child mortality. Copyright 1996, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Article
The cost of expanding public-sector health programs depends critically on the extent to which public eligibility will cover just the uninsured or will crowd out existing private insurance coverage. The authors estimate the extent of crowd-out arising from the expansions of Medicaid to pregnant women and children over the 1987-1992 period. They estimate that approximately 50 percent of the increase in Medicaid coverage was associated with a reduction in private insurance coverage. This occurred largely because employees took up employer-based insurance less frequently. There is also some evidence that employers contributed less for insurance and that workers dropped coverage of dependents. Copyright 1996, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Article
Simultaneity between prisoner populations and crime rates makes it difficult to isolate the causal effect of changes in prison populations on crime. To break that simultaneity, this paper uses prison overcrowding litigation in a state as an instrument for changes in the prison population. The resulting elasticities are two to three times greater than those of previous studies. A one-prisoner reduction is associated with an increase of fifteen Index I crimes per year. While calculations of the costs of crime are inherently uncertain, it appears that the social benefits associated with crime reduction equal or exceed the social costs of incarceration for the marginal prisoner.
Article
We take advantage of the fortuitous randomization of trial outcome to provide a novel strategy to identify the deterrent effect exclusive of incapacitation. We compare the post-sentencing criminal activity of criminals who were convicted of a strikeable offense with those who were tried for a strikeable offense but convicted of a nonstrikeable offense. As a robustness check, we also make this comparison in states without three-strikes laws. The identification strategy lets us estimate the deterrent effect nonparametrically using data solely from the three-strikes era. We find that California’s three-strike legislation significantly reduces felony arrest rates among the class of criminals with two strikes by 17–20 percent.
Article
I consider the labor-market effects of mandates which raise the costs of employing a demographically identifiable group. The efficiency of these policies will be largely dependent on the extent to which their costs are shifted to group-specific wages. I study several state and federal mandates which stipulated that childbirth be covered comprehensively in health insurance plans, raising the relative cost of insuring women of childbearing age. I find substantial shifting of the costs of these mandates to the wages of the targeted group. Correspondingly, I find little effect on total labor input for that group.
Article
In this paper authors argue that teenage pregnancy should not be conceptualized as a public health problem and suggest that this label is rather a reflection of what is considered to be socially culturally and economically acceptable. The authors contend that age might not be as strong a factor in determining a positive outcome on the health of mothers and their babies as is supposed.
Article
Ten years ago, Cutler and Gruber [Cutler, D., Gruber, J., 1996. Does public health insurance crowdout private insurance? Quarterly Journal of Economics 111, 391-430] suggested that crowd-out might be quite large, but much subsequent research has questioned this conclusion. Our results using improved data and methods clearly show that crowd-out is still significant in the 1996-2002 period. This finding emerges most strongly when we consider family level measures of public insurance eligibility. We also find that recent anti-crowd-out provisions in public expansions may have had the opposite effect, lowering take-up by the uninsured faster than they lower crowd-out of private insurance.
Article
This paper attempts to discriminate between deterrence, incapacitation, and measurement error as explanations for the negative empirical relationship between arrest rates and crime. Measurement error cannot explain the observed patterns in the data. Incapacitation suggests that an increase in the arrest rate for one crime will reduce all crime rates; deterrence predicts that an increase in the arrest rate for one crime will lead to a rise in other crimes as criminals substitute away from the first crime. Empirically, deterrence appears to be the more important factor, particularly for property crimes. Copyright 1998 by Oxford University Press.
Article
Many policy makers view the enforcement of statutory rape laws as a way to reduce teenage childbirths. This article considers whether unmarried teenage girls covered by a state statutory rape law are less likely to give birth than girls who are not covered by a statutory rape law. The presence of statutory rape laws is negatively correlated with nonmarital birthrates for white females but is not a significant predictor for black or Hispanic females. In contrast, the enforcement of statutory rape laws has a deterrent effect on teen childbearing for blacks and Hispanics but not for whites. (JEL J13, K14) Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.
Article
Recently economists have begun to consider the causes and consequences of religious participation. An unanswered question in this literature is the effect upon individuals of changes in the opportunity cost of religious participation. In this paper we identify a policy-driven change in the opportunity cost of religious participation based on state laws that prohibit retail activity on Sunday, known as “blue laws.” Many states have repealed these laws in recent years, raising the opportunity cost of religious participation. We use a variety of data sets to show that when a state repeals its blue laws religious attendance falls and that church donations and spending fall as well. These results do not seem to be driven by declines in religiosity prior to the law change, nor do we see comparable declines in membership in or giving to nonreligious organizations after a state repeals its laws. We then assess the effects of changes in these laws on drinking and drug use behavior in the NLSY. We find that repealing blue laws leads to an increase in drinking and drug use and that this increase is found only among the initially religious individuals who were affected by the blue laws. The effect is economically significant; for example, the gap in heavy drinking between religious and nonreligious individuals falls by about half after the laws are repealed.
Article
Previous empirical studies have uncovered little evidence that police reduce crime, possibly due to simultaneity problems. This paper uses the timing of mayoral and gubernatorial elections as an instrument variable to identify a causal effect of police on crime. Increases in the size of police forces are shown to be disproportionately concentrated in mayoral and gubernatorial election years. Increases in police are shown to substantially reduce violent crime but have a smaller impact on property crime. The null hypothesis that the marginal social benefit of reduced crime equals the costs of hiring additional police cannot be rejected. Copyright 1997 by American Economic Association.
Article
We show that immigrant managers are substantially more likely to hire immigrants than are native managers. The finding holds when comparing establishments in the same 5-digit industry and location, when comparing different establishments within the same firm, when analyzing establishments that change management over time, and when accounting for within-establishment trends in recruitment patterns. The effects are largest for small and owner-managed establishments in the for-profit sector. Separations are more frequent when workers and managers have dissimilar origin, but only before workers become protected by EPL. We also find that native managers are unbiased in their recruitments of former co-workers, suggesting that information deficiencies are important. We find no effects on entry wages. Our findings suggest that a low frequency of immigrant managers may contribute to the observed disadvantages of immigrant workers.
Article
Analysis of decision making under risk has been dominated by expected utility theory, which generally accounts for people's actions. Presents a critique of expected utility theory as a descriptive model of decision making under risk, and argues that common forms of utility theory are not adequate, and proposes an alternative theory of choice under risk called prospect theory. In expected utility theory, utilities of outcomes are weighted by their probabilities. Considers results of responses to various hypothetical decision situations under risk and shows results that violate the tenets of expected utility theory. People overweight outcomes considered certain, relative to outcomes that are merely probable, a situation called the "certainty effect." This effect contributes to risk aversion in choices involving sure gains, and to risk seeking in choices involving sure losses. In choices where gains are replaced by losses, the pattern is called the "reflection effect." People discard components shared by all prospects under consideration, a tendency called the "isolation effect." Also shows that in choice situations, preferences may be altered by different representations of probabilities. Develops an alternative theory of individual decision making under risk, called prospect theory, developed for simple prospects with monetary outcomes and stated probabilities, in which value is given to gains and losses (i.e., changes in wealth or welfare) rather than to final assets, and probabilities are replaced by decision weights. The theory has two phases. The editing phase organizes and reformulates the options to simplify later evaluation and choice. The edited prospects are evaluated and the highest value prospect chosen. Discusses and models this theory, and offers directions for extending prospect theory are offered. (TNM)
Article
The debate over the legitimacy or propriety of the death penalty may be almost as old as the death penalty itself and, in the view of the increasing trend towards its complete abolition, perhaps as outdated. Not surprisingly, and as is generally recognized by contemporary writers on this topic, the philosophical and moral arguments for or against the death penalty have remained remarkably unchanged since the beginning of the debate. One outstanding issue has become, however, the subject of increased investigation, especially in recent years, due to its objective nature and the dominant role it has played in shaping the analytical and practical case against the death penalty. That issue is the deterrent effect of capital punishment, a reexamination of which, in both theory and practice, is the object of the paper.
The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation (Advances in Police Theory and Practice)
  • John A Eterno
  • Eli B Silverman
Eterno, John A., and Eli B. Silverman. 2012. The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation (Advances in Police Theory and Practice). CRC Press; 1st edition.
Teens and TANF: How Adolescents Fare Under the Nation's Welfare Program Issue Brief: An Update on Women's Health Policy
  • Kaiser Family Foundation
Kaiser Family Foundation. 2003. " Teens and TANF: How Adolescents Fare Under the Nation's Welfare Program. " Issue Brief: An Update on Women's Health Policy.