The Economic Maturity Gap Encourages Continuity in Offending

Jessica M. Craig, Alex R. Piquero, David P. Farrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: In the study of criminal careers, factors that predict continuity in offending are of importance to both theory and policy. One recently advanced hypothesis is Moffitt’s “economic maturity gap,” which argues that some adolescence-limited offenders may be mired in a poor economic situation. As only one study to date has examined this hypothesis, the current study seeks to extend this line of research by assessing the relationship of the economic maturity gap on later offending. Methods: Using data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, three distinct operationalizations of the economic maturity gap are used to predict continued offending into mid-adulthood. Results: Findings support the hypothesis that adolescence-limited males who experience this gap in late adolescence are more likely to continue offending into adulthood. Conclusions: Experiencing poor economic circumstances helps to maintain offending into mid-adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-396
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Delinquency
  • Economic maturity gap
  • Employment

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