How Much Crime Reduction Does the Marginal Prisoner Buy?
AbstractWe estimate the effect of changes in incarceration rates on changes in crime rates using state-level panel data. We develop an instrument for future changes in incarceration rates based on the theoretically predicted dynamic adjustment path of the aggregate incarceration rate in response to a shock to prison entrance or exit transition probabilities. Given that incarceration rates adjust to permanent changes in behavior with a dynamic lag, one can identify variation in incarceration rates that is not contaminated by contemporary changes in criminal behavior. For the period 1978–2004, we find crime-prison elasticities that are considerably larger than those implied by ordinary least squares estimates. We also present results for two subperiods: 1978–90 and 1991–2004. Our instrumental variables estimates for the earlier period suggest relatively large crime-prison effects. For the later time period, however, the effects of changes in incarceration rates on crime rates are much smaller.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.
Volume (Year): 55 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 275 - 310
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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/
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- Alessandro Barbarino & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2007.
"The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence From Several Italian Collective Pardons,"
Carlo Alberto Notebooks
55, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
- Alessandro Barbarino & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2014. "The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence from Several Italian Collective Pardons," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 1-37, February.
- Barbarino, Alessandro & Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2012. "The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence from Several Italian Collective Pardons," IZA Discussion Papers 6360, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Alessandro Barbarino & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2013. "The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence from Several Italian Collective Pardons?," Economics Discussion Papers 737, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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