【主题】Parental Absence in Childhood and Migrants' Crime: Evidence from an Individual Prisoner Data in China
【报告人】张丹丹 (助理教授, 北京大学国家发展研究院)
【摘要/Abstract】Economic transition, along with sheer scale of rural-to-urban migration, has induced dramatic changes in Chinese family structure over the past three decades. A large cohort of migrant children became left-behind in rural villages, and their experience in growing up without parental care brought about important social issues. This paper examines whether parental absence in childhood is associated with migrants’ criminality in China, by using a unique survey and experimental data on prison inmates and their comparable non-inmates. We find that parental absence in childhood will increase the propensity of a male to commit crimes, although different reasons (i.e., left-behind or other reasons) for parental absence may drive criminality through different channels. Generally, being left-behind arouses risk-loving behaviors and deteriorates moral values, while parental absence due to other reasons reduces opportunity for education and thus forms poor personality. In addition, we also find that fathers' absence is more likely to induce son’s crime activities, while mothers' absence may impose an impact through reducing education attainment. These findings provide useful insights for policy making to alleviate social costs related to the rural-to-urban migration.