Imprisoning People and Opportunities : Estimating the Impact of State-Level Jail Population on Social Mobility
Sammanfattning: This paper investigates the consequences of children's exposure to state-level incarceration rates on social mobility in the United States. The study uses social mobility data from the Opportunity Atlas for children born between 1978 and 1983. Jail population data is gathered from the 1985 and the 1995 Annual Survey of Jails. To analyze the impact of jail rates on social mobility, we estimate OLS regressions with state-level control variables. Of key interest is the potential differential effect of early (age 2-7) versus later (age 12-17) exposure. All estimates indicate a negative correlation between incarceration and social mobility. The main results indicate that exposure to incarceration rates during adolescence has a larger impact on social mobility. Further, the subgroup estimates indicate that female incarceration is a more effective determinant of social mobility and that the black and the female population are more sensitive to fluctuations in incarceration rates. The estimates by income percentiles show incoherent results. The results should be treated with caution to methodological issues and potential biases.
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