Estimating and Explaining Ethnic Disparities in the Cumulative Risk of Paternal Incarceration in Denmark

Anne Sofie Anker
Lars H. Andersen, Rockwool Foundation Research Unit
Christopher Wildeman, Cornell University

Paternal incarceration is a well-known risk factor for poor child outcomes, and existing research documents substantial racial/ethnic disparities in the prevalence of paternal incarceration. However, only broadly defined ethnic/racial groups have been considered, and no research has decomposed these disparities into distinct components. We address both gaps using Danish administrative data and two demographic techniques. First, we use to birth cohort life tables to estimate country-of-origin-specific paternal incarceration risks for native Danes, Western and non-Western descendants of immigrants. Second, we conduct Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions to see how paternal employment, education, and previous criminal justice contact shape these risks. We find that descendants of immigrants are much more likely to experience paternal incarceration than native Danes, but that there is substantial heterogeneity. For most countries-of-origin almost all of the observed disparities in paternal incarceration risk can be explained by group differences in paternal employment, education and previous criminal justice contact.

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 Presented in Session 243. Child and Youth Exposures to Criminal Justice Systems