Preprints of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012,04
Self-control theory is one of the best studied criminological paradigms. Since Gottfredson and Hirschi published their General Theory in 1990 the theory has been tested on more than a million subjects. This meta-study systematizes the evidence, reporting 717 results from 102 different publications that cover 966,364 original data points. The paper develops a methodology that makes it possible to standardize findings although the original papers have used widely varying statistical procedures, and have generated findings of very different precision. Overall, the theory is overwhelmingly supported, but the effect is relatively small, and is sensitive to adding a host of moderating variables.