Ben Matthews

PhD Student


Working Title of PhD: Criminal Careers in Scotland
Year commenced PhD study: 2012 (full time)
Funding Source: ESRC/Scottish Government collaborative studentship
PhD Supervisors: Prof Susan McVie and Dr Paul Norris

Synopsis: My research examines changing patterns of convictions over the course of the crime drop in Scotland. In my thesis I will examine how declines in convictions are distributed across the population. This will examine differences in convictions patterns across age, sex and crime type at the aggregate level, and across latent convictions groups (estimated using latent class analysis) at the individual level. To help understand these patterns, my thesis will also explore how the convictions careers of individuals in Scotland typically progress, examining transitions between latent convictions groups with age. To help this work feed into research trying to understand the crime drop (for example, Farrell et al. 2014), I will also consider the potential impact of the type of first offence on subsequent convictions patterns.

Initial results show that decreases in convictions rates over the course of the crime drop are predominately concentrated in declines in convictions served to young people, and in particular to young men. A video presentation of the findings is available at, and a research briefing containing these results is available at as part of a series of research briefings from the AQMeN crime strand (

Keywords: Criminal Careers, reducing re-offending, conviction trajectories



University of Edinburgh

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