5 de dezembro de 2014

Summer jobs reduce violence among disadvantaged youth

Sara B. Heller1,2,*

+Author Affiliations
  1. 1Department of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
  2. 2University of Chicago Crime Lab, Chicago, IL, USA.
  1. *Corresponding author. E-mail: hellersa@sas.upenn.edu
Every day, acts of violence injure more than 6000 people in the United States. Despite decades of social science arguing that joblessness among disadvantaged youth is a key cause of violent offending, programs to remedy youth unemployment do not consistently reduce delinquency. This study tests whether summer jobs, which shift focus from remediation to prevention, can reduce crime. In a randomized controlled trial among 1634 disadvantaged high school youth in Chicago, assignment to a summer jobs program decreases violence by 43% over 16 months (3.95 fewer violent-crime arrests per 100 youth). The decline occurs largely after the 8-week intervention ends. The results suggest the promise of using low-cost, well-targeted programs to generate meaningful behavioral change, even with a problem as complex as youth violence.
  • Received for publication 23 June 2014.
  • Accepted for publication 7 November 2014.

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