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Jobs or jails? The crime drop in Texas

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Author Info

  • William Spelman

    (University of Texas, Austin)

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    Abstract

    Crime went down throughout the U.S. in the 1990s. Potential explanations include demographic shifts, improved economic opportunities, changes in drug markets, evolving police strategies, and an increasing prison population. Previous attempts to parcel out responsibility among these explanations are unpersuasive. Some do not consider all of the explanations, others rely on highly aggregated data, still others confuse cause and effect. An analysis of Texas counties that deals with these problems shows that the Texas crime drop was largely due to increases in the jail and prison population; property crime also dropped due to increases in real wages and wealth and in public order arrests. Further prison construction would not be cost-effective in Texas due to declining marginal returns, but direct interventions to improve economic opportunities or make police work more proactive may be. © 2005 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20073
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 133-165

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:24:y:2005:i:1:p:133-165

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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    1. Levitt, Steven D, 1996. "The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 319-51, May.
    2. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "Cross-city evidence on the relationship between immigration and crime," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 457-493.
    3. Bhargava, A & Franzini, L & Narendranathan, W, 1982. "Serial Correlation and the Fixed Effects Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 533-49, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Catalina Gómez Toro & Hermilson Velásquez & Joaquín Andrés Urrego & Juan David Valderrama, 2014. "Efecto de los Ingresos Permanentes sobre el Delito: Un Enfoque Espacial y un Caso de Aplicación," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO CIEF 010900, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT.
    2. Rosalia Condorelli, 2013. "Applied nonlinear dynamical system in social science. A nonlinear model for social control system: an application to Italian coercion system," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 1173-1198, February.
    3. Alessandro Barbarino & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2007. "The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence From Several Italian Collective Pardons," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 55, Collegio Carlo Alberto.

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