Political ideology represents an imperfect yet important indicator of a host of personality traits and cognitive preferences. These preferences, in turn, seemingly propel liberals and conservatives towards divergent life-course experiences. Criminal behavior represents one particular domain of conduct where differences rooted in political ideology may exist. Using a national dataset, we test whether and to what extent political ideology is predictive of self-reported criminal behavior. Our results show that self-identified political ideology is monotonically related to criminal conduct cross-sectionally and prospectively and that liberals self-report more criminal conduct than do conservatives. We discuss potential causal mechanisms relating political ideology to individual conduct.
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