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Optimal Criminal Behavior and the Disutility of Jail: Theory and Evidence On Bank Robberies

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  • Giovanni Mastrobuoni

Abstract

Based on unique data on individual bank robberies perpetrated in Italy between 2005 and 2007, this paper estimates the distribution of criminals' disutility of jail. The identification rests on the money versus risk trade-off criminals face when deciding whether to stay an additional minute robbing the bank. When robbers are successful in robbing a bank and the observed duration is assumed to be the optimal one, the disutility of jail represents the only unknown determinant of that optimal duration. One can thus solve for the disutility as a function of the expected marginal haul, average haul, and hazard rate of arrest.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 220.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:220

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Related research

Keywords: Crime; Deterrence; Sentence Enhancements; Bank Robberies; Value of Freedom; Disutility of Jail;

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References

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  1. Jeff Grogger, 1997. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," NBER Working Papers 5983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Drago, Francesco & Galbiati, Roberto & Vertova, Pietro, 2007. "The Deterrent Effects of Prison: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6401, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. 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.
  9. Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-46, December.
  10. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
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  12. Daniel Kessler & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation," NBER Working Papers 6484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Block, M K & Heineke, J M, 1975. "A Labor Theoretic Analysis of the Criminal Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 314-25, June.
  14. Cameron, Samuel, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-23.
  15. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1996. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," NBER Working Papers 5430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. John J. DiIulio, 1996. "Help Wanted: Economists, Crime and Public Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.

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