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NCJ Number: 184020 Find in a Library
Title: Population Heterogeneity and State Dependence: State of the Evidence and Directions for Future Research
Journal: Journal of Quantitative Criminology  Volume:16  Issue:2  Dated:June 2000  Pages:117-144
Author(s): Daniel Nagin; Raymond Paternoster
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 28
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on a literature review, this study draws a connection between population heterogeneity and state-dependence processes (contact with the criminal justice system) and extant criminological theory.
Abstract: Criminological research has consistently uncovered a positive correlation between past and current criminal behavior. Continuity in offending over time can be attributed to at least two processes: population heterogeneity and state dependence. A population heterogeneity process attributes stability in offending over time to differences in an antisocial characteristic (self-control, impulsivity, psychopathic personality) across persons that is established early in life and is time-stable thereafter. An implication of a population-heterogeneity explanation for continuity in offending over time is that the antisocial characteristic is likely to have reverberations throughout life, having many manifestations later in life (unemployment, drug addiction, marital instability). Any observed correlation between these later life events and criminality, therefore, is spurious rather than causal, due to the fact that they are all the effects of a common cause. A state-dependence explanation, in contrast, attributes observed stability in criminal offending to a process of contagion; that is, criminal behavior has a genuine causal effect on subsequent criminality by eroding constraints and strengthening incentives to crime. The implication of a state-dependence process is that criminal conduct may be influenced by later life events. Recommendations are offered for future research on population heterogeneity and state dependence. 61 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Criminal justice system effectiveness; Habitual offenders; Juvenile to adult criminal careers; Psychological influences on crime; Recidivism causes; Social conditions
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