Incarceration Spillovers in Criminal and Family Networks
Using quasi-random assignment of criminal cases to judges, we estimate large incarceration spillovers in criminal and brother networks. When a defendant is sent to prison, there are 51 and 32 percentage point reductions in the probability his criminal network members and younger brothers will be charged with a crime, respectively, over the ensuing four years. Correlational evidence misleadingly finds small positive effects. These spillovers are of first order importance for policy, as the network reductions in future crimes committed are larger than the direct effect on the incarcerated defendant.
We thank seminar participants at several universities and conferences for valuable feedback and suggestions. We are grateful to Baard Marstrand at the Norwegian Courts Administration for help in accessing the data and in understanding institutional details. The project received generous financial support from the Norwegian Research Council. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.