You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:


Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Juvenile Crime and Punishment

Steven D. Levitt
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 106, No. 6 (December 1998), pp. 1156-1185
DOI: 10.1086/250043
Stable URL:
Page Count: 30
  • Download PDF
  • Cite this Item
Juvenile Crime and Punishment
We're having trouble loading this content. Download PDF instead.


Over the last two decades Juvenile violent crime has grown almost twice as quickly as that of adults. This paper finds that changes in relative punishments can account for 60 percent of that differential. Juvenile offenders are at least as responsive to criminal sanctions as adults. Sharp drops in crime at the age of majority suggest that deferrence (and not merely incapacitation) plays an important role. There does not, however, appear to be a strong relationship between the punitiveness of the juvenile justice system that a cohort faces and the extent of criminal involvement for that cohort later in life.