Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Environmental and Public Affairs

First Committee Member

Anna Lukemeyer

Second Committee Member

Ernita Joaquin

Third Committee Member

Christopher Stream

Fourth Committee Member

E. L. Bernick

Fifth Committee Member

Kenneth E. Fernandez

Number of Pages



Historically, juvenile justice in the United States has been the responsibility of state governments with limited federal support. There is a notable gap in the empirical literature on factors that affect funding policies for state juvenile justice programs. In this dissertation research, I used two theoretical perspectives to examine determinants of juvenile justice spending: economic theory on intergovernmental aid and tenets of the Politics of Social Order Framework, developed by Stucky, Heimer, and Lang (2007) to investigate corrections spending. Two research questions were considered: 1) What impact does federal aid have on state spending on juvenile justice programs? and 2) Can specific tenants of the Politics of Social Order Framework be extended to juvenile justice funding?

The research sample included 30 states for which spending for juvenile justice was analyzed over an eleven-year period from 1996 - 2006. I used a pooled time-series cross-sectional design to examine the determinants of state spending on juvenile justice programs. A multiple regression analysis was conducted using ordinary least squares with panel corrected standard errors and a lagged dependent variable included as an independent variable as a correction for autocorrelation. The research model was derived from the theory that state spending on juvenile justice is a function of the following types of independent variables: economic, social threat, fiscal health, alternative policy priority, juvenile crime, partisan politics, ideology, and structural and demographic control variables.

Results of the analysis show that spending on juvenile justice represents less than one percent (1%) of total state spending per capita for the nation on average. Further, the data show that federal aid is a statistically significant factor in juvenile justice spending decisions; however, its fiscal impact is minimal with evidence of substitution of federal aid for state own source spending. Finally, results indicate that the theoretical basis for the Politics of Social Order Framework model does not hold true consistently in explaining determinants of juvenile justice spending.


Expenditures; Public; Federal aid; Federal Aid and State Spending Decisions; Finance; Public; Government spending policy; Intergovernmental Relations and Juvenile Justice Spending; Juvenile justice; Administration of; Politics and State Spending on Juvenile Justice; Race and State Spending on Juvenile Justice; Socioeconomic Determinants of State Spending on Juvenile Justice; State Juvenile Justice Spending Policy


Economic Theory | Juvenile Law | Public Administration | Public Policy

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit