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The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence from Several Italian Collective Pardons?

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  • Alessandro Barbarino
  • Giovanni Mastrobuoni

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Abstract

We estimate the “incapacitation effect” on crime using variation in Italian prison population driven by eight collective pardons passed between 1962 and 1990. The prison releases are sudden, within one day, very large, up to 35 percent of the entire prison population and happen nationwide. Exploiting this quasi-natural experiment we break the simultaneity of crime and prisoners and, in addition, use the national character of the pardons to separately identify incapacitation from changes in deterrence. The elasticity of total crime with respect to incapacitation is between -17 and -30 percent. A cost-benefit analysis suggests that Italy’s prison popu lation is below its optimal level.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Essex, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 737.

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Date of creation: 13 Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:737

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Cited by:
  1. Maurin, Eric & Ouss, Aurelie, 2009. "Sentence Reductions and Recidivism: Lessons from the Bastille Day Quasi Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 3990, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. repec:clg:wpaper:2009-06 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2011. "Optimal Criminal Behavior and the Disutility of Jail: Theory and Evidence On Bank Robberies," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 220, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  4. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2014. "The Ups and Downs in Women's Employment: Shifting Composition or Behavior from 1970 to 2010?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 14-212, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

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