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The Economic Epidemiology of Crime

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  • Philipson, Tomas J
  • Posner, Richard A

Abstract

Economic analysis of infectious diseases emphasizes the self-correcting character of epidemics, as rising risk of infection causes potential victims to take self-protective measures. We apply the analysis to crime, showing how rational potential victims of crime will take increased self-protective measures in response to rising crime rates, causing those rates to moderate. Victim responses to crime can offset public expenditures on crime control; this implies that there may be a "natural" rate of crime that is difficult for the public sector to affect. We show that victim responses to crime can impart a cyclical pattern to crime rates and discuss the implications of our analysis for gun control and present empirical evidence concerning the responsiveness of self-protective measures to crime rates and the cyclical pattern of those rates. Copyright 1996 by the University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 39 (1996)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 405-33

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:39:y:1996:i:2:p:405-33

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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Cited by:
  1. Pradhan, Menno & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Demand for public safety," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2043, The World Bank.
  2. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Measuring Positive Externalities From Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis Of Lojack," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 43-77, February.
  3. Anderson, Soren & Laxminarayan, Ramanan & Salant, Stephen W., 2010. "Diversity or Focus? Spending to Combat Infectious Diseases When Budgets Are Tight," Discussion Papers, Resources For the Future dp-10-15, Resources For the Future.
  4. Pradhan, Menno & Ravallion, Martin, 2003. "Who wants safer streets? Explaining concern for public safety in Brazil," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 17-33, February.
  5. Paresh Kumar Narayan & Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth, 2010. "Is There a Natural Rate of Crime?," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 759-782, 04.
  6. Ben Vollaard & Pierre Koning, 2005. "Estimating police effectiveness with individual victimisation data," CPB Discussion Paper 47, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  7. Li Gan & Roberton C. Williams III & Thomas Wiseman, 2004. "A Simple Model of Optimal Hate Crime Legislation," NBER Working Papers 10463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Tomas Philipson, 1999. "Economic Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases," NBER Working Papers 7037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Michael Makowsky, 2006. "An Agent-Based Model of Mortality Shocks, Intergenerational Effects, and Urban Crime," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 9(2), pages 7.
  10. Zimmerman, Paul R., 2014. "The deterrence of crime through private security efforts: Theory and evidence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 66-75.
  11. Ann Dryden Witte & Robert Witt, 2001. "What We Spend and What We Get: Public and Private Provision of Crime Prevention," NBER Working Papers 8204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Vollaard, Ben & Koning, Pierre, 2009. "The effect of police on crime, disorder and victim precaution. Evidence from a Dutch victimization survey," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 336-348, December.
  13. David A. Weiner & Byron F. Lutz & Jens Ludwig, 2009. "The Effects of School Desegregation on Crime," NBER Working Papers 15380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Zimmerman, Paul R., 2010. "Deterrence from self-protection measures in the ‘market model’ of crime: dynamic panel data estimates from employment in private security occupations," MPRA Paper 26187, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Saha, Atanu & Poole, Graham, 2000. "The economics of crime and punishment: An analysis of optimal penalty," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 191-196, August.
  16. Philip J. Cook, 2008. "Assessing Urban Crime And Its Control: An Overview," NBER Working Papers 13781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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