Employment and crime

Janna Verbruggen, MSc

Promotor: prof. dr. Wim Huisman, prof. dr. Gerben Bruinsma 
Co-promotor: Mr. dr. Arjan Blokland, drs. Victor van der Geest

In the past few years there has been a growing body of literature on criminal careers. Attention has been paid not only to individual differences in criminal careers, but also to the relationship between the criminal career and the employment career. However, a few limitations exist with research on this topic. A first limitation from previous research is that they mainly focus on the influence of employment on crime, or vice versa, while there may be a mutual dependency between the criminal career and employment career. Transitions in the employment career can be of influence on criminal behavior, but events in the criminal career can influence the employment career as well. Moreover, the question remains whether a causal relationship between employment and crime exists, or that the relationship is spurious, which means that certain background characteristics (for example personality or level of education) can influence criminal behavior, as well as chances of (un)employment.

A second limitation of previous research is that it mainly focuses on males, while little attention has been paid to the relationship between crime and employment for women.

To examine the association between the criminal career and the employment career, a dataset containing information on 270 high risk men and 270 high risk women will be used.  This dataset contains longitudinal information about the criminal career and the employment career as well as information about a wide variety of background characteristics.
In addition to this information, interviews will be conducted with these men and women from the dataset in order to shed light on the mechanisms at play in the relationship between employment and crime.

This PhD research is a collaboration between the NSCR and the department of Criminal Law and Criminology from VU University Amsterdam.