Employment, Neighborhoods, Labor Markets, and Crime: A Test of the Labor Stratification Thesis

Robert Crutchfield, University of Washington
Tim Wadsworth, University of New Mexico

While many expect that labor market experience will influence criminality, the empirical literature has not always affirmed this relationship. Recent research suggests that one reason for ambiguous findings in studies of employment and crime is that the affects are conditioned by other factors. The labor stratification thesis suggests that one important set of factors is local labor market characteristics and conditions. This paper uses the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 97 to examine the influence of labor market participation on young adult criminal behavior. We find that the influence of employment on crime is stronger in urban areas than in suburban and non-metrpolitan areas. This paper will examine the interaction of individual and neighborhood characteristics in these three types of settings.

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Updated 05/20/2006