INVOLVEMENT OF WOMEN IN CRIME
Lately participation of women in labor markets has increased considerably in many countries and its moving towards the participation rate of men. Though on a less scale, a similar movement toward gender convergence seems to be occurring in the criminal world. Though many more are men than women still engage in criminal activity. Technological advancement and social norms have made women free from the home. This led to increase in their participation in both labour and the crime market. With crime no longer just men’s business, it is important to investigate female behaviour to understand if the policy prescriptions to reduce crime should differ for men.
More women are committing crimes in the past, but they have still not caught up with men.
The gender gap in crime is partially explained by women’s lower criminal incomes and lower responsiveness to changes in expected criminal earnings.
Since having young children, it reduces a women’s possibility to commit crimes, subsidies for having children might decrease female criminality
Married women are more likely to have and be able insure against negative income shocks through their husband’s incomes, thus lessening their propensity to commit crime.
Reducing wage disparities across female skilled and unskilled workers might reduce the inclination of women to commit crimes.
Traditional policies to fight crime have not differentiated between women and men, as not enough to known about what motivates females.
Technological progress and social norms have freed females from home, increasing their participation in both the labour market and the crime market
The increase participation of women in labour market might increase female participation in crime market
Convergence in the social roles of women and men might increase crimes committed by women
The judicial system seems to be more lenient to the female offenders
The gender gap is still visible in the crime market, but the number of women committing crimes is on the rise, partially because other socio-economic gender gaps have been decreasing. Women have more freedom now as compared to the past and with that comes more opportunities for crime. Despite increasing social equality, police and judicial systems still tend to be more lenient with female than with males. Policies to reduce wage disparities between skilled and unskilled female workers, like incentivizing female education, might reduce crime among disadvantaged women. Family support policies, by encouraging marriage and having children, might also reduce crime among women.
It is known that most criminals are male and that the share of female criminals is rising. But not much is known about trends in the gender gap and the reasons behind gender differences in criminal behavior. Prevention, punitive, and rehabilitation policies have failed to differentiate between women and men. The economic literature, which has extensively explored gender convergence in the labour force, has under-investigated the issue of female participation in the crime market. Analyzing the gender gap in the crime market and its evolution and identifying its main determinants are important for effectively fighting crime. It is important to understand whether men and women behave differently in the crime market and, if so, to uncover the main drivers of these differences and to set policy incentives accordingly.
If the participation gap in the crime market is driven by social roles, as some hypothesize, the number of women committing crimes should rise as women spend more time outside the home. On the other hand, it can be argued that the number of female criminals should decline (at least for property crimes, such as larceny, fraud, and embezzlement) if women have more and better opportunities in the legal labour market. Which force prevails is a matter for empirical analysis.
One important reason for the increasing number of female criminals is that changes in social roles and technological advancement have freed women from the home and reduced the overall value of housekeeping. As for female employment and wages, their effect on female crime is ambiguous. There is one theory, not yet tested, is that relative wage inequality is important, not just the wage gap alone. Over the last decades, relative wage inequality has been increasing more for women as compared to men, which might be the reason that has pushed more women at the low end of the wage distribution to commit crimes. Differences in the depth of the effect of education on crime have also contributed to shrink the gender gap in crime participation. Finally, the judicial system is more lenient with women than with men, thus giving women an advantage in the crime market.
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