【经管院每周系列讲座第347期】Parental Absence in Childhood and Migrants' Crime: Evidence from an Individual Prisoner Data in China
主题：Parental Absence in Childhood and Migrants' Crime: Evidence from an Individual Prisoner Data in China
Dr. Dandan Zhang obtained his Ph.D. in economics from the Australian National University in 2009. She also holds master degrees in economics from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Renmin University of China. She had published a few papers in the first-tire journals such as Economic Journal.
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.