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Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behavior: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment

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  • Francesco Drago
  • Roberto Galbiati

Abstract

We exploit the 2006 Italian prison pardon to evaluate peer effects in criminal behavior. The pardon randomly commutes actual sentences to expected sentences for 40 percent of the Italian prison population. Using prison and geographical origin to construct reference groups for former inmates, we find large indirect effects of this policy. In particular, we find that the reduction in the individuals' recidivism due to an increase in their peers' residual sentence is at least as large as their response to an increase in their own residual sentence. From this result we estimate a social multiplier in crime of two. (JEL D12, K42, Z13)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 199-218

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:2:p:199-218

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.2.199
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  1. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role Of Information And Social Interactions In Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence From A Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842, August.
  2. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  3. Hope Corman & H. Naci Mocan, 1996. "A Time-Series Analysis of Crime and Drug Use in New York City," NBER Working Papers 5463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2009. "Criminal Recidivism after Prison and Electronic Monitoring," NBER Working Papers 15602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Rafael Lalive & Alejandra Cattaneo, 2006. "Social Interactions and Schooling Decisions," IEW - Working Papers 298, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2007. "Do Harsher Prison Conditions Reduce Recidivism? A Discontinuity-based Approach," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-29.
  7. Donohue, John J, III & Siegelman, Peter, 1998. "Allocating Resources among Prisons and Social Programs in the Battle against Crime," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-43, January.
  8. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
  9. Eric Maurin & Julie Moschion, 2006. "The social multiplier and labour market participation of mothers," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00117042, HAL.
  10. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1996. "On Using Linear Regressions in Welfare Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(4), pages 478-86, October.
  11. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Pietro Vertova, 2011. "Prison Conditions and Recidivism," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 103-130.
  12. Drago, Francesco & Galbiati, Roberto & Vertova, Pietro, 2007. "The Deterrent Effects of Prison: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2912, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. David Skarbek, 2010. "Putting the "Con" into Constitutions: The Economics of Prison Gangs," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 183-211.
  14. Esther Dufluo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
  15. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Emily G. Owens, 2009. "More Time, Less Crime? Estimating the Incapacitative Effect of Sentence Enhancements," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 551-579, 08.
  17. Paolo Buonanno & Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Giulio Zanella, 2011. "Crime in Europe and the United States: dissecting the ‘reversal of misfortunes’," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 26(67), pages 347-385, 07.
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Cited by:
  1. Lindquist, Matthew J. & Zenou, Yves, 2014. "Key Players in Co-Offending Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 8012, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Gioia de Melo, 2012. "Peer effects identified through social networks. Evidence from uruguayan schools," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 12-15, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
  3. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "Legal status and the criminal activity of immigrants," Working Papers 052, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  4. Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2014. "The Value of Connections: Evidence from the Italian-American Mafia," IZA Discussion Papers 7925, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2014. "The Ups and Downs in Women's Employment: Shifting Composition or Behavior from 1970 to 2010?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 14-212, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  6. Lucifora, Claudio & Tonello, Marco, 2012. "Students' Cheating as a Social Interaction: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in a National Evaluation Program," IZA Discussion Papers 6967, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Benjamin Monnery, 2013. "The determinants of recidivism among ex-prisoners: a survival analysis on French data," Working Papers halshs-00822847, HAL.

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