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Criminal Deterrence: A Review of the Literature

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  • Aaron Chalfin
  • Justin McCrary

Abstract

We review economics research regarding the effect of police, punishments, and work on crime, with a particular focus on papers from the last twenty years. Evidence in favor of deterrence effects is mixed. While there is considerable evidence that crime is responsive to police and to the existence of attractive legitimate labor-market opportunities, there is far less evidence that crime responds to the severity of criminal sanctions. We discuss fruitful directions for future work and implications for public policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Aaron Chalfin & Justin McCrary, 2017. "Criminal Deterrence: A Review of the Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 5-48, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:1:p:5-48
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.20141147
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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