Heterogeneity in Criminal Behaviour after Child Birth: the Role of Ethnicity

This paper documents behavioral differences in parental criminality between majority and minority ethnic groups after child birth. The particular effect we exploit is that of the gender of the first-born child on fathers’ convictions rates. Based on detailed judicial and demographic data from New Zealand, we first show that the previously documented inverse relationship between having a son and father’s criminal behaviour holds across the average of the population. However, when splitting the fathers’ sample by ethnicity, the effect appears to be entirely driven by the white part of the population and that there is no effect on the native Maori. The strong ethnic divide is observed along many dimensions and challenges the implicitly made assumption in the economics of crime literature that findings are universally applicable across cultures and race.

01. December 2020

Authors Kabir Dasgupta André Diegmann Tom Kirchmaier Alexander Plum

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