NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

After the Epidemic: Recent Trends in Youth Violence in the United States

Philip J. Cook, John H. Laub

NBER Working Paper No. 8571
Issued in October 2001
NBER Program(s):   HE

The epidemic of youth violence in the United States peaked in 1993 and has been followed by a rapid, sustained drop. In parallel with our earlier treatment (Cook and Laub 1998), we assess two types of explanation for this drop -- those that focus on 'cohort' effects (including the effects of abortion legalization) and those that focus on 'period' effects (including the effects of the changing crack-cocaine trade). Once again we are able to reject the cohort-type explanations, yet also find contradictions with an account based on the dynamics of crack markets. The 'way out' of this epidemic has not been the same as the 'way in.' The relative importance in homicide of youths, racial minorities, and guns, all of which increased greatly during the epidemic, has remained high during the drop. Arrest patterns tell a somewhat different story, in part because of changing police practice with respect to aggravated assault. Finally, we demonstrate that the rise and fall of youth violence has been narrowly confined with respect to race, sex, and age, but not geography. Given the volatility in the rates of juvenile violence, forecasting rates is a risky business indeed. Effectively narrowing the range of plausible explanations for the recent ups and downs may require a long time horizon, consideration of a broader array of problem behaviors, and comparisons with trends in other countries.

download in pdf format
   (193 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (193 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8571

Published: Tonry, Michael (ed.) Crime and Justice: A Review of Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Cook w13781 Assessing Urban Crime And Its Control: An Overview
Aizer w13773 Neighborhood Violence and Urban Youth
Piketty and Saez w8467 Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998 (series updated to 2000 available)
Born, Viscusi, and Baker w12086 The Effects of Tort Reform on Medical Malpractice Insurers' Ultimate Losses
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us