Doing the Time Causes the Crime? An Examination of the Dose-Response Relationship Between Time Served & Future Criminal Offending

Date of Original Version



Working Paper

Abstract or Description

This paper uses a large cohort of Dutch felony offenders to causally model the effect of time served on future criminal offending. To address the selection issues inherent in this sort of examination, we combine developmental trajectory analysis (Nagin, 2005) with a generalization of the propensity score introduced by Joffe and Rosenbaum (1999) and extended by Lu et al. (2001). Results indicate that, on average, offenders serving shorter periods of confinement are subsequently sentenced to fewer days of incarceration than comparable offenders serving longer sentences. However, on the whole, we find only weak evidence of a dose-response relationship between time served and future offending.