When does the apple fall from the tree? Static versus dynamic theories predicting intergenerational transmission of convictions

Marieke Van de Rakt*, Stijn Ruiter, Nan Dirk De Graaf, Paul Nieuwbeerta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Criminal behavior of parents substantially affects the criminal behavior of children. Little is known, however, about how crime is transmitted from one generation to the next. In order to test two possible explanations against each other, we pose the question whether the timing of the criminal acts of fathers is important for children's chances of committing crime. Static theories predict that it is the number of delinquent acts performed by fathers that is important, and that the particular timing does not affect the child's chance of committing crime. Dynamic theories state that the timing is important, and children have a greater chance of committing crime in the period after fathers have committed delinquent acts. Results show that the total number of convictions of a father is indeed very important, but also the exact timing is key to understanding intergenerational transmission of crime. In the year a father is convicted the chance his child is also convicted increases substantially and it decays in subsequent years. This decay takes longer the more crimes father has committed. Our results show that some of the assumptions of the static theories at least need to be adjusted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-389
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Quantitative Criminology
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010

Keywords

  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Convictions
  • The Netherlands
  • Timing
  • Life course criminology
  • Static versus dynamic theories
  • ANTISOCIAL-BEHAVIOR
  • CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS
  • LIFE-COURSE
  • FATHERS
  • TRAJECTORIES
  • DELINQUENCY
  • CONTINUITY
  • PATTERNS
  • YOUTH

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