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Contingencies in the Long-Term Impact of Work on Crime Among Youth

NCJ Number
Shun-Yung Kevin Wang
Date Published
October 2010
225 pages
This study tests the hypothesis that "ladder jobs" (jobs with significant upward-moving occupational positions on a status ladder), along with job income, job stability, and parental control, are more effective in deterring juvenile delinquency and crime than employment per se.
The study findings show that "ladder jobs" had a significant crime-decreasing effect compared to other types of employment, which were linked to a crime-increasing effect. Job income partially mediated the crime-increasing effect of regular employment on delinquency, and job stability partially mediated the crime-decreasing effect of "ladder jobs;" however, parental control, which was measured as direct supervision, did not have a mediating role between employment and delinquency. The findings indicate that a job that pays little now but improves the chances of a long-term career is apparently more effective in preventing delinquency than a dead-end job that pays comparatively well in the short-term. This suggests that discussions of employment and internships for youth should consider the importance of long-term features of occupations, not just the immediate monetary gains of the employment. Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 97 and structural equation modeling were used to test hypotheses. 16 tables, 7 figures, 119 references, and appended list of occupations in the census 2002 industry and occupation codes, cover letter and instructions of occupational classification, and other supplementary information

Date Published: October 1, 2010