Friday, March 21, 2008

Divorce and Crime notes "The Impact of Unilateral Divorce on Crime," by Julio Cáceres-Delpiano and Eugenio P. Giolito (March 2008)
In this paper, we evaluate the impact of unilateral divorce on crime. First, using crime rates from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report program for the period 1965-1998 and differences in the timing in the introduction of the reform, we find that unilateral divorce has a positive impact on violent crime rates, with an 8% to 12% average increase for the period under consideration. Second, arrest data not only confirms the findings of a positive impact on violent crime but also shows that this impact is concentrated among those age groups (15 to 24) that are more likely to engage in these type of offenses. Specifically, for the age group 15-19, we observe an average impact over the period under analysis of 40% and 36% for murder and aggravated assault arrest rates, respectively. Disaggregating total arrest rates by race, we find that the effects are driven by the Black sub-sample. Third, using the age at the time of the divorce law reform as a second source of variation to analyze age-specific arrest rates we confirm the positive impact on the different types of violent crime as well as a positive impact for property crime rates, controlling for all confounding factors that may operate at the state-year, state age or age-year level. The results for murder arrests and for homicide rates (Supplemental Homicide Report) for the 15-24 age groups are robust with respect to specifications and specifically those that include year-state and year-age dummies. The magnitude goes from 15% to 40% depending on the specification and the age at the time of the reform.
Which surprises me not at all. In "Equal Time: The Sequel" (05 Nov 2005), I say:
The state began many years ago to encourage [single parenthood] by enabling [men and women] to break their [marriage] contracts at will instead of trying to work out their differences. (The lesson: When the state sends signals about private arrangements, private arrangements tend to align themselves with the signals being sent by the state.)
And innocent bystanders reap what the state sows.

Other related posts:
"I Missed This One" (21 Aug 2004)
"A Century of Progress?" (30 Jan 2005)
"The Marriage Contract" (16 Feb 2005)
"Feminist Balderdash" (19 Feb 2005)
"Libertarianism, Marriage, and the True Meaning of Family Values" (06 Apr 2005)
"Consider the Children" (07 Oct 2005)
"Same-Sex Marriage" (20 Oct 2005)
"Equal Protection" and Homosexual Marriage" (30 Oct 2005)
"Marriage and Children" (05 Nov 2005)
"Social Norms and Liberty" (02 Mar 2006)
"Parenting, Religion, Culture, and Liberty" (04 Jun 2006)
" 'Family Values,' Liberty, and the State" (07 Dec 2007)