Work and crime among adolescents in Finland
Anke Ramakers, Assistant Professor in criminology at the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology at Leiden Law School, together with Finnish researchers Mikko Aaltonen and Pekka Martikainen, has published an article in the Elsevier journal 'Advances in Life Course Research', on the role of labour market status and crime among adolescents in Finland.
Their study investigates whether the likelihood of criminal behaviour is dependent on labour market status. In investigating the link between work and criminal behaviour, many previous studies only made a distinction between those who were employed, and those who were unemployed. But this is out of step with reality as young adults tend to switch between different statuses, such as working, studying and/or having care tasks. Theories imply moreover that the protective effect of working and the criminogenic effect of not working is dependent on the type of activity or non-activity.
These relationships among Finnish adolescents were studied and a distinction was made between the following statuses: in work (for 1-12 months), unemployed (for 1-12 months), studying, responsible for care tasks or unemployed without legitimate reasons. In the case of both men and women, it appears that the labour market status has an impact on the likelihood of criminal behaviour. This relationship appears to be strongly dependent on the number of months in employment and the type of inactivity. Fixed effects models show that the risk of criminal behaviour is highest in the years that a person is unemployed, and lowest in the years that a person has care tasks. Thus, a detailed conceptualization of labour market status is important for gaining clearer insights into the roles of employment and non-employment in the development of criminal behaviour.