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Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behaviour: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment

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Abstract

We exploit the Collective Clemency Bill passed by the Italian Parliament in July 2006 to evaluate the indirect effects of a policy that randomly commutes actual sentences to expected sentences for 40 percent of the Italian prison population. We estimate the direct and indirect impact of the residual sentence – corresponding to a month less time served in prison associated with a month of expected sentence – at the date of release on individual recidivism. Using prison, nationality and region of residence to construct reference groups of former inmates, we find large indirect effects of this policy. In particular, we find that the reduction in the individuals’ recidivism due to an increase in their peers’ residual sentence is at least as large as their response to an increase in their own residual sentence. From this result we estimate a social multiplier in crime of 2.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 270.

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Date of creation: 14 Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:270

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Keywords: Crime; Natural Experiment; Indirect Effects of Policies; Social Interactions;

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  1. Eric Maurin & Julie Moschion, 2009. "The Social Multiplier and Labor Market Participation of Mothers," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 251-72, January.
  2. Rafael Lalive & Alejandra Cattaneo, 2006. "Social Interactions and Schooling Decisions," CESifo Working Paper Series 1787, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. 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.
  4. Hope Corman & H. Naci Mocan, 1996. "A Time-Series Analysis of Crime and Drug Use in New York City," NBER Working Papers 5463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Donohue, John J, III & Siegelman, Peter, 1998. "Allocating Resources among Prisons and Social Programs in the Battle against Crime," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-43, January.
  6. Pietro Vertova, 2011. "Prison Conditions and Recidivism," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 103-130.
  7. Emily G. Owens, 2009. "More Time, Less Crime? Estimating the Incapacitative Effect of Sentence Enhancements," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 551-579, 08.
  8. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
  9. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2009. "Criminal Recidivism after Prison and Electronic Monitoring," NBER Working Papers 15602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Lindquist, Matthew J. & Zenou, Yves, 2014. "Key Players in Co-Offending Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 8012, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Benjamin Monnery, 2013. "The determinants of recidivism among ex-prisoners: a survival analysis on French data," Working Papers halshs-00822847, HAL.
  3. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "Legal status and the criminal activity of immigrants," Working Papers 052, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  4. Gioia de Melo, 2012. "Peer effects identified through social networks. Evidence from uruguayan schools," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 12-15, Instituto de Economia - IECON.
  5. Lucifora, Claudio & Tonello, Marco, 2012. "Students' Cheating as a Social Interaction: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in a National Evaluation Program," IZA Discussion Papers 6967, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2014. "The Value of Connections: Evidence from the Italian-American Mafia," IZA Discussion Papers 7925, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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