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Help Wanted: Economists, Crime and Public Policy

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  • John J. DiIulio

Abstract

Beginning with Gary W. Becker's (1968) article on crime and punishment, economists have contributed important theoretical insights and empirical findings to the study of criminal behavior but the influence of economists on crime-relevant research and over policy debates remains negligible. This essay summarizes some basic data on the causes of crime, the social costs and benefits of incarceration, and replenishing social capital. Work on crime by economists should become influential in setting research agendas and shaping policy debates but economists will have to roll up their sleeves, complexify their models, and confront a real-world 'prisoner's dilemma' or two.

Suggested Citation

  • John J. DiIulio, 1996. "Help Wanted: Economists, Crime and Public Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:10:y:1996:i:1:p:3-24
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.10.1.3
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.10.1.3
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    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
    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists

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