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Incarceration and Incapacitation: Evidence from the 2006 Italian Collective Pardon

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  • Paolo Buonanno
  • Steven Raphael

Abstract

In August 2006, the Italian government released one-third of the nation's prison inmates via a national collective pardon. We test for a discontinuous break in national crime rates corresponding to the mass release. We also test for the effect of the return of the incarceration rate to its predicted steady state level on national crime rates. Finally, we exploit regional variation in prison releases based on the province of residence of pardoned inmates. All three sources of variation yield substantial incapacitation effect estimates and suggest that the crime-preventing effects of incarceration diminish with increases in the incarceration rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Buonanno & Steven Raphael, 2013. "Incarceration and Incapacitation: Evidence from the 2006 Italian Collective Pardon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2437-2465, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:6:p:2437-65
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.6.2437
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ben Vollaard, 2013. "Preventing crime through selective incapacitation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(567), pages 262-284, March.
    2. 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.
    3. Steven D. Levitt, 1996. "The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 319-351.
    4. 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, August.
    5. Paolo Buonanno & Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Giulio Zanella, 2011. "Crime in Europe and the United States: dissecting the ‘reversal of misfortunes’," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 26(67), pages 347-385, July.
    6. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Pietro Vertova, 2009. "The Deterrent Effects of Prison: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 257-280, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Manudeep Bhuller & Gordon B. Dahl & Katrine V. Løken & Magne Mogstad, 2016. "Incarceration, Recidivism and Employment," NBER Working Papers 22648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Magnus Lofstrom & Steven Raphael, 2015. "Incarceration and Crime: Lessons from California’s Public Safety Realignment Reform," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(4), pages 40-46, 01.
    3. repec:eee:ejores:v:262:y:2017:i:1:p:306-321 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Mueller-Smith, Michael & Schnepel, Kevin T., 2016. "Avoiding Convictions: Regression Discontinuity Evidence on Court Deferrals for First-Time Drug Offenders," IZA Discussion Papers 10409, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Benjamin Hansen, 2015. "Punishment and Deterrence: Evidence from Drunk Driving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1581-1617, April.
    6. repec:ces:ifodic:v:12:y:2015:i:4:p:19151970 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:bla:ausecr:v:49:y:2016:i:4:p:515-523 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Munyo, Ignacio & Rossi, Martín A., 2015. "First-day criminal recidivism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 81-90.
    9. Roberto Galbiati & Aurélie Ouss & Arnaud Philippe, 2015. "Jobs, News and Re-offending after Incarceration," Sciences Po publications 41, Sciences Po.
    10. Mueller-Smith, Michael & Schnepel, Kevin T., 2016. "Avoiding Convictions: Regression Discontinuity Evidence on Court Deferrals for First-Time Drug Offenders," Working Papers 2016-16, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    11. Benjamin Hansen & Keaton Miller & Caroline Weber, 2017. "The Grass is Greener on the Other Side: How Extensive is the Interstate Trafficking of Recreational Marijuana?," NBER Working Papers 23762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Hennebel, Veerle & Simper, Richard & Verschelde, Marijn, 2017. "Is there a prison size dilemma? An empirical analysis of output-specific economies of scale," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 262(1), pages 306-321.
    13. O’Flaherty, Brendan & Sethi, Rajiv, 2015. "Urban Crime," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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