Probing the Developmental Relationship Between Adolescent Employment and Crime Using the NLSY97

Shawn D. Bushway, University of Maryland at College Park
Robert Apel, University of Maryland at College Park
Raymond Paternoster, University of Maryland at College Park
Robert Brame, University of Maryland - College Park

Prior research using the NLSY97 has shown that youth who begin to work or increase their work intensity from one school year to the next show no increase either in the prevalence or the frequency of their criminal or delinquent behavior. This result directly contradicts a large body of research using cross-sectional analysis. To expand this analysis further, in this paper we examine trajectories of monthly work pattern over the entire high school career for two cohorts in the NLSY97. This application of the semi-parametric trajectory method to work are correlated with different offending patterns and lifestyle choices at age 18. Based on our earlier work, we hypothesize that individuals with substantially different patterns of work behavior during their high school years will have essentially the same offending behavior upon the completion of high school. Furthermore, we predict that individuals who worked during high school will have life outcomes at age 18 that are predictive of a successful transition to adult roles.

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Updated 05/20/2006