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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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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.4.2.199
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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. 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.
  2. Lalive, Rafael & Cattaneo, Maria Alejandra, 2006. "Social Interactions and Schooling Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 2250, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  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. Pietro Vertova, 2011. "Prison Conditions and Recidivism," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 103-130.
  5. Maurin, Eric & Moschion, Julie, 2006. "The Social Multiplier and Labour Market Participation of Mothers," IZA Discussion Papers 2513, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Pietro Vertova, 2009. "The Deterrent Effects of Prison: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 257-280, 04.
  8. 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.
  9. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2009. "Criminal Recidivism after Prison and Electronic Monitoring," NBER Working Papers 15602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. 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).
  2. Lindquist, Matthew J. & Zenou, Yves, 2014. "Key Players in Co-Offending Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 8012, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2014. "The Value of Connections: Evidence from the Italian-American Mafia," IZA Discussion Papers 7925, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Gioia De Melo, 2011. "Peer effects identified through social networks. Evidence from Uruguayan schools," Department of Economics University of Siena 627, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  5. Benjamin Monnery, 2013. "The determinants of recidivism among ex-prisoners: a survival analysis on French data," Working Papers halshs-00822847, HAL.
  6. 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.

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