Lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility: Consequences for juvenile crime and education

Working paper by Anna Piil Damm, Britt Østergaard Larsen, Helena Skyt Nielsen og Marianne Simonsen

20.10.2017 | Mette Vad Andersen

Abstract:

This paper exploits a Danish policy reform combined with population-wide administrative registers to investigate whether being above the minimum age of criminal responsibility deters juveniles from crime. We study young individuals’ tendency to commit crime as well as their likelihood of recidivism by exploiting police records on offenses committed by the population of children and youth, including those below the minimum age of criminal responsibility. The reform lowered the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 14 years. We find that the reform did not deter 14-year-olds from committing crime. Moreover, conditional on committing crime in the first place, youths affected by the lower minimum age of criminal responsibility were more likely to recidivate and less likely to be enrolled in the 9th grade, just as they have lower grades at the 9th grade exit exam, conditional on participating. The latter results are consistent with labeling effects of processing in the criminal justice system.

Link til working paper

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