Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 295–317 | Cite as

Time and Punishment: Delayed Consequences and Criminal Behavior

  • Daniel S. NaginEmail author
  • Greg Pogarsky


This article develops two distinct explanations for the failure of potential consequences to influence behavior. Discounting is the tendency to deliberatively devalue the future. In contrast, poor impulse control refers to the failure to consider the future. The implications of this distinction were investigated with data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health. The study produced several findings. First, both forms of present-orientation independently predicted a range of problem outcomes among respondents. Second, high discounting was a better predictor of deliberative or future-related problem outcomes, whereas poor impulse control was a better predictor of urge driven behaviors or conduct involving little forethought. Third, only poor impulse control but not high discounting predicted violent offending among respondents. While both forms of present-orientation were associated with property offending, high discounting was a stronger and more consistent predictor. These three findings were far more evident for males than they were for females.


impulsivity self-control discounting add health adolescent health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Policy and ManagementCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.School of Criminal JusticeUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

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