Rational Suicides: Evidence from Changes in Inmates' Expected Sentence Length
AbstractAre suicides rational? At least since the 70's economists have been trying to shed light on this question by studying whether suicide rates are related to contemporaneous economic conditions. This paper goes one step further: we test whether suicides are linked to forward-looking behavior. In Italy, collective sentence reductions (pardons) often lead to massive releases of prisoners. More importantly, they are usually preceded by prolonged parliamentary activity (legislative proposals, discussion, voting, etc.) that inmates seem to follow closely. We use the legislative proposals for collective pardons to measure changes in the inmates' expectations about their date of release, and find that suicide rates tend to be significantly lower when pardons are proposed in congress. This suggests that, amongst inmates in Italian prisons, the average decision to commit suicide has a rational component.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 247.
Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Suicides; Rationality; Pardons; Amnesty; Prison Conditions;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
- H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- Is pardoning prisoners the best way to keep jail costs low?
by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-04-20 14:31:00
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